It's Still Winter
Capt. Stewart Ames
February 18, 2022
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Fishing in Northern Pinellas County has been nothing short of strange this year. The big seatout of winter have still failed to show up in their normal numbers. Some days, 4-5 fish will be caught and then the next day these trout are absent. In a normal year, catching a limit can be effortless, with 30 fish days well within the range of expectation. With mid February in the rear view mirror, it is questionable whether a big push of fish will ever arrive this winter.
This has forced local captains to reach into their bag of tricks. Some are going to the near shore reefs to harvest mangrove snapper, which were very abundant in the last year. Although the fishing has slowed a bit as cold water arrived, there are still some fish out there to catch. Small shrimp and pinfish are effective baits unless, of course, local waters warm and pilchards can be secured, as these baits tend to outperform all others.
In certain areas, there have been small sharks on the prowl and these 10 m-20 lbs fish can provide a great pull on light inshore rods spooled with 10 lbs test. Make sure to include a short length of steel leader if there is an interest in actually landing a fish or two. Cut baits and live pinfish seem to work equally well.
There are some quality redfish around, although work is required to locate them. Most of these fish will be found as solos or in the company of just two or three other fish. Pinfish, shrimp and cut baits will all trigger strikes as redfish aren't likely to refuse a meal, except on cold days following a front. The hard work is finding them. On several recent trips, over-slot fish were caught. Good luck and good fishing.
Tampa Bay Fishing Forecast:
As February turns into March, generally most local fishing improves. redfishin will definitely get easier and some of the biggest trout tend to be caught in early spring. It's still a little cool for larger snook, but with a warm March, good things can happen.
Snook, redfish, sea trout, snapper, kingfish
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