Monday, January 04, 2010

Tampa Bay Fishing Report 1-2010

Tampa Fishing Reports
January 2009 Fishing Report

January welcomed us with unprecedented cold...multiple evenings with sub forty degree temperatures. The redfish and trout that inhabit our inshore waters this time of year can tolerate cold water, but temperature drops of six to ten degrees in a single night will spell the end to any productive fishing for a few days. Before the arrival of the last few cold fronts, our large trout had moved in and fishing was excellent. Although the largest fish of the year are typically caught in the early spring, there already appear to be some very big fish available.

sea trout

Large whitebaits, fished under a cork, were highly effective in the last month. With this bait gone however, it's time to switch to select shrimp and pinfish. There are a number of ways to present these live baits but the key is to make sure that you are in the strike zone. Large trout tend to hold close to the bottom. On days when they are aggressive, they will come to the surface to chase down a bait but on others, they'll strike only when bait is within easy reach. This being the case, make sure that, if fishing a bobber rig, that you have left enough line below your bobber to allow the bait to hang close to the bottom. At times, adding a small split shot a few inches above your bait will improve your number of hookups. Another option is to use a quarter ounce jig head below your bobber and tail hook your shrimp to this. There are actually several advantages of adding a jig or small split shot to your rig. ; First, your bait will stay in the strike zone. Second, you improve your casting distance and third, if there are birds in the area, your shrimp will have a harder time getting to the surface when chased, minimizing the chance of a ">

huge sea trout

Redfish remain available for the persistent angler although a morning of actively fishing docks and oyster bars may yield only several fish. Expect to work a shoreline or row of docks meticulously in the hopes of finding one or two small groups of reds. The water is clear and shallow in many of these areas so try to minimize noise and make long casts into your target area. In the last month, sighting groups of 2 to 6 fish has been typical, with numerous individual fish mixed in. Keep things in perspective this time of year. Catching a couple of nice slot fish in the winter would be equivalent to finding a dozen nice reds in the warmer months. Although there will occasionally be those banner redfishing days in the winter where you find twenty hungry fish holed up somewhere, most of the redfish caught in the winter will be caught one or two at a time. Shrimp seems to be the favorite bait when the water is cold, but a variety of cut baits will still work.

Other cold weather options include fishing for sheephead around residential docks, bridge pilings and oyster bars or fishing for the smaller, but more prevalent, silver trout. On days where nothing else seems to want to cooperate, rig up a couple of rods with small curly tail jigs on 1/4 jig heads and fish the deeper channels that these silver trout frequent. Once you find them, it's quite possible to hook a fish on every cast. Although these trout are smaller than their larger seatrout cousins...two pounds would be a good one...they can be caught in great numbers and have no limits, so you can go home with some dinner.

To maximize your winter success, pay close attention to the tides and weather. Look for days that have strong tidal movement and are at least a couple days away from the last cold front. By doing so, the odds of having a productive day of winter fishing will be in your favor. Good luck and good fishing.

Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters

US Coast Guard Licensed Captain
Member Florida Guides Association
(727) 421-5291

© 2007 Captain Stewart Ames, Gone Fishing Charters, Tampa, FL

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