As we say goodbye to one year and hello to a new one, I can’t help but reflect on how lucky I am to have a job that allows me the opportunity to share my passion with so many different types of people from all around the world. Not all are hardcore fishermen, in fact, most aren’t, but what they do all have in common is a love for the outdoors. We are fortunate here in Tampa Bay to have such abundant wildlife both in and out of the water which makes every trip a new and memorable learning experience.
Now on to the Fishing Report! December finished off with a bang for us as the mild temperatures continued. Water temps in the low to mid-seventies has kept the sardines from exiting the bay although some days they can be a tough to find. Trips before and after the Christmas holiday provided us with some unbelievable action. Near the mangrove edges and islands clients have been catching plenty of snook as well as some very nice trout that have moved in this year. Scaled sardines are still the bait of choice although we have done well with small jigs like the DOA cal on an 1/8th oz jig head. There are scattered redfish schools patrolling the flats too. I love this time of year because the negative tides allows us to spot these fish in very shallow water. These are mostly big over slot fish that are catch and release only. They can be quite a handful on light tackle. Sometimes we’ll even get out of the boat to approach these spooky fish tailing in less than a foot of water. It is very much like stalking bonefish and equally as exciting!
Out in the deeper waters the action has been nonstop! There have been some days of catching mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish until my clients just tap out! The inshore docks and rock piles have produced some keeper sheepshead using shrimp but the water needs to cool off a bit more before we’ll see the larger ones move into the bay.
I imagine we’ll see the water slowly cool down as the pattern begins to change although the long range is still for above average temps overall. This bodes well for all you northerners looking to get away from what appears to be a brutal winter! Whether a visitor or a local, I hope you can take advantage of our beautiful area and all it has to offer. If you’d like to get out on the water with me for a day of catching, book your trip now. Guaranteed fun or your money back!
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