Strong Winds but a Strong Bite
Capt. Trajan Rodriguez
January 24, 2017
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
It seemed the past week was full of big south winds, but the bite was nothing short of fantastic. I managed to get a weekend off from school and headed back to Tampa to run a couple trips. We are still catching white bait on the flats and it is almost February! Certain deeper spots have been one throw and done for pilchards which is great this time of year. Marking the bait, chumming it up, and throwing a heavy 3/8" net should load up your wells. Threadfins are also still hanging around deep in the bay and make for great cut bait and chum.
The big redfish couldn't stay away from the boat this weekend. The flats in Upper Bay are full of packs of 5-10 redfish, none of which seem to be anywhere near the slot. Every redfish we boated this weekend was between 30"-36". The redfish were dialed in on both live pilchards and cut pinfish. Once the redfish were located it wasn't hard to get them chewing. Continuous chumming of live and dead bait continued to bring in other groups of fish allowing for double and triple hooks ups.
Although we are in the dead of winter, the snook bite has been fantastic with consistent 40-50 snook days. Creek mouths and deep docks have been loaded with fish in the 20"-30" range. Don't chum too much because these fish don't need to feed as much this time of year. With the clearer water we have been fishing 25 lb leader.
The trout are stacked in the creek mouths and deep holes of the grass flats. Pilchards are effective but artificial can be the best way to find the trout and cover more water. Any soft plastic under a popping cork on a jig head has been effective. Where you find one trout, there should be many more.
The sheepshead bite continues to be hot just about everywhere there is structure. Target these with small hooks, shrimp, fiddler crabs, and barnacles.
Good luck out on the water and stay safe at Gasparilla this weekend. Tightlines!
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