Tampa Winter Fishing Going Strong
We finally got into our Tampa Winter Fishing patterns. It can be really tough fishing when the fish get stuck somewhere in between their cooler winter patterns and their spring warmer patterns. Like when the water temp one day is in the upper 60’s and a cold front moves through and the air temp drops so does the water temp. That’s why you want to find that water that is a few degrees warmer.
When you plan your fishing trip you want to fish the end of the outgoing and the incoming tide because the warmer water coming out of the rivers, creeks, and the flats on the outgoing then all that warmer water moves back in and makes the fish bite.
Now what’s biting around the Tampa Bay area is lots of Tampa winter fishing for Trout in the 2 – 6 feet of water along the grass beds. I like throwing a ¼ oz with a 3 inch shad tail or I will rig it with a live shrimp I will cut the tail off and hook it from the tail.
The Redfish I have been fishing the last hour of the outgoing and the first 3 hours of the incoming. I have been fishing in less than 2 feet of water sight casting to them with a 1/16 oz jig heat with a 4 inch jerk bait or if you are fishing over grass and potholes I will rig it weedless. If you are throwing flies I like a crab pattern or a bait fish patterns.
Sheepshead fishing during the winter months can be fantastic if you look in the right place. I like looking for them around most of the Docks, Rock piles, Rocky shorelines, and artificial reefs in the Tampa bay area. With all that suture all around the bay are holding lots of good sized Sheepshead.
The leaders I use are 15 pound test fluorocarbon and were only 9 to 15 inches long, tied to a 1/0 hook and just enough weight to get it down. I like using short leaders and small hooks for Sheepshead with a longer leader it doesn’t allow you to feel a bite as good, and larger hooks make it harder to hook a fish. The best baits to use are shrimp, sand fleas or small crabs like mud crabs or fiddler crabs. They need to be 12 inches and you are allowed to have 15 per person with no closed season.
The Apollo Beach power plant is still holding Jacks, Sharks, and Snapper. I look for the colder days to fish it so it’s putting out more warm water.
Capt Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at firstname.lastname@example.org