Tampa Fishing December Forecast

We are at the end of another great year of fishing. If November is any indication of how the year will end, then we are in store for some warm days. If there aren’t warm days and we get hammered by strong cold fronts, the key is to be flexible. The snook bite was on fire last month and if the warm weather continues, should carry over to this month. The redfish continue to keep us on our toes and are on the move. The trout will continue to keep rods bent with the big “Gator” trout invade the flats of Tampa Bay. Sheepshead will be on the move and making their way into Tampa fishing areas.

Tampa Fishingn Redfish Charters
Tampa Bay Redfish


The Tampa fishing charters snook bite was on fire last month and if our water temperatures don’t drop too fast, the bite can continue all month. Fishing the areas around our rivers (Little Manatee, Alafia and Hillsborough) will produce snook. The snook move in and around the rivers to get through the cold months. Live scaled sardines are the bait of choice. When temperatures get cold, the snook’s metabolism slows and then it’s time to switch to shrimp. Free lined with a 30lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is a great set up. Artificial baits like the D.O.A shrimp or MirrOlure MirrOdine are great baits. I like natural colors but find out what works for you.


The redfish are more tolerant to the colder weather than snook. The bite continues to be inconsistent, but if you continue to work and put the time in, you will find the fish. Winter is a great time to work on your artificial lure skills. A spoon worked slowly over top of grass flats is a good way to work a lot of area fast and locate fish. Soft plastics like D.O.A shrimp, Berkley Gulp! shrimp, and jerk shad are good plastics. Hard baits such as MirrOlure MirrOdine, Zarra Spook, and Super Spook are great. You can pick these up at your local Tampa fishing tackle stores.


The FWC had a meeting last month and decided to have an open season year round for trout. This does not take effect until next year. Trout season will still be CLOSED in the Tampa fishing area December and will reopen January 1st . We will still have some great catch and release action this month. As temperatures drop, the bigger trout invade our flats. Now is the time to get that “Gator” trout we are all after. On lower tides, work the drop offs and edges of the flats. As the tide comes in, move on the flats and work the potholes. Remember season will remain closed this month. Trout have a protective slime, so use a dehooker to release them.

Best of the Rest

The cooler temperatures will bring the sheepshead into Tampa  Bay fishing areas as they prepare to spawn soon. Rock piles, docks, and artificial reefs will hold fish. Live shrimp or sand fleas will work. If temperatures drop fast and water temperatures get cold, look to fish the TECO power plant. The different amounts of species you can catch are amazing. Cobia, sharks, snook, redfish, pompano… the list goes on. Make sure you pay attention to the no fishing signs. FWC will patrol the area.

To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa fishing guide Captain Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or visit TampaFLFishingCharters.com

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