February is upon us and that means spring is just around the corner. It looks like we may get through the winter without a major freeze which is good for our snook population. The warm weather we have been having has been nice but has made things a little inconsistent fishing Tampa Bay. The trout bite should get better as water temperatures drop. Redfish can be found on lower tides fishing the potholes on our area flats. Sheepshead will continue to invade our areas wrecks, reefs and rock piles.
The sheepshead bite has been good and should continue to be good this month. As they prepare to spawn, they will continue to school up around our wrecks, artificial reefs and rock piles in the bay. Fiddler crabs and shrimp are good baits. I like to fish as light of tackle as possible. I fish a 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader. I either us a 1/2 ounce jig head or a knocker rig to get the baits down. Sheepshead offer excellent table fair with a lenient bag limit of 15 per angler which make them a winter time favorite.
The trout bite has been a little funny to say the least. The warm weather we have been having has made it hard to locate quality fish. Areas that seem to hold fish during the winter months are holding fish but not like usual. That doesn’t mean to quit looking. If we continue to get warm weather we may need to start looking at our spring time areas. I like to start the morning off with a topwater plug like the Super Spook in a bone color. As the sun gets higher in the sky, I switch to a soft plastic lure like the D.O.A. CAL Shad in a white with a 1/8 to a 1/4 ounce jig head.
If you have a kayak, a boat that can get super skinny or like to wade-fish, then you should love this time of year. With our negative low tides, fishing the potholes has been producing some nice redfish. Getting to the potholes is the challenging part. Shrimp on a jig head or a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook with a split shot will do for the live stuff. If you like to throw artificial, you have a wide variety. When working potholes, the D.O.A. shrimp is hard to beat. The key is to not over work the bait.
Best of the Rest
The warm weather has started up the snook bite. If the warm weather continues, look for the snook to be moving toward the mouth of the rivers in our area. If temperatures get to normal and water temperatures drop, look to fish the TECO power plant runoff. The variety of species this area holds is amazing. Snook, redfish, trout, shark, pompano, permit…the list goes on.
To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide Captain Will Shook call, 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWillShook@gmail.com