Tampa Bay Winter Fishing Report Inshore
Tampa Bay winter fishing can be days of strong northerly winds, choppy water, cooler water temps and skinny water to name just a few of our winter fishing challenges. December is here and the cold fronts are coming every few days. Winter fishing can be productive with the right mix of planning and patience. The water temps are is the high 60’s and the bite is still strong all over Tampa Bay.
Redfish are still plentiful but scattered all over the flats. Shrimp on the bottom is the bait of choice. They are feeding later in the day when the water warms up, I have had great success in the late afternoon. I am also finding good numbers of reds along the mangroves when the tide is high. Look for good water flow and deeper cuts.
The snook have moved to their winter spots in the backcountry creeks and rivers, They are actively feeding on white bait and fattening up for the colder weather. As always take care when handling these fish as they are a limited resource and we are lucky to have them. Try to release them by keeping them in the water and always remember the larger fish are breeders.
Trout fishing hot now in 6 feet of water look for gator trout to be roaming the shallows once the water temp rises in the afternoon. Smaller fish up to keeper size can still be found on deeper grass flat. Live select shrimp either free lined or under a popping cork is producing impressive numbers of fish.
The sheepshead are here and are biting pretty good. Look for rocky area or area that has good structure. a good tactic if you are fishing one of the three large bridges is to scrape some barnacles from the bridge pilings and chum the sheepshead into a feeding frenzy, then drop your bait down into the cloud of chum.
Visit my webpage www.inshore2offshore.com to find more information on fall fishing charters in the Tampa Bay area. I offer online booking as well as military appreciation trips. You can find recipes and information on current weather. Or as always feel free to give me a call with any questions you may have, 813-731-3426. While visiting our website please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter and be first to receive reports, offers and updates.