Cooler Weather but Strong Bite
Capt. Trajan Rodriguez
December 15, 2016
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
With December typically comes strong winds and colder weather. Many people stop fishing for snook this time of year due to their sensitivity to cooler water temps. However, this time of year is a great time to have 100 plus snook days and even hit that big 40 inch fish of a lifetime. The snook are starting to stack up in the mouths of creeks and canals. Things to look for are tidal flow, mud bottom since it warms up faster, as well as concrete docks since they give off more heat.
Greenbacks are currently working very effectively but will be moving off the flats into the deeper waters of the bay as the water gets even cooler. Chum to find the snook and chances are once you find one, they will be stacked in a large group. Avoid over chumming because the fish dont need to feed as much this time of year due to their slower metabolism. Trolling lures like Bomber Long A's can also be effective in the residential canals and rivers. This often brings a better quality of size.
Trout are more commonly targeted this time of year as they stack up around spoil islands and creek mouths. Trout limits can be easily achieved while working these areas. Clicking corks with a live shrimp or DOA shrimp underneath is a common trout favorite. I like to cover a lot of ground while drifting and throwing jigs, and then anchoring and locking in with live baits once the fish have been located. Many of the gator trout will be filled with roe this time of year so please treat them with care and release them.
Big sheepshead are all over the bay and make for great table fare. This time of year is typically when I see the biggest sheepshead in the largest groups. Anywhere structure can be found the sheepshead wont be far. Barnacles, shrimp, and fidler crabs will all be effective.
Stay warm and tightlines!
Snook, trout, sheepsgead
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