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Cold water Fishing in Tampa Bay

Capt. John Rivers
February 1, 2018
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report

Tampa Bay Fishing Report
What a weird weather pattern we've dealt with these past few weeks; one week it's really cold like we're in the North pole and then it's back to normal with temps in the mid 60's to lower 70's.

A lot of people asked what's this done to the fishing, and here is the answer.
The trout bite has been outstanding the past month and February should be just as good as the water temps are in the 60's right where the trout like it. My go to baits for trout are soft plastics such as a Matrix Shad on a 1/8oz jig head or oz jig head depending upon how deep of water I'm fishing. I also have a 17MR MirrOlure tied on as well as a Heddon Spook top-water plug; these three lures are my staples when it comes to speckled trout fishing. I've been using them for years and they have never failed me yet.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Now let's talk redfish; big schools of reds have moved into Tampa Bay, I can't say where but I can say that they are chewing on a variety of baits, from cut white bait, to cut mullet and if you want to toss artificials, tie on a Heddon Spook or a gold Spoon and hang on!
Look for pushes in the water and lots of mullet, and you'll find the reds in depths of 2-5 ft of water is where they are hanging out.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Moving on to Sheepshead, the bite has been outstanding on many of the bridge pilings, rock piles and docks in Tampa Bay. Live shrimp and fiddler crabs are the baits of choice.
Remember to have a light leader and a small #1 or #2 J Hook tied on. I like Gamakatsu, but you can use what you like or you can use a 1/8 or oz jig head depending upon what the current / tide is doing.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Snook fishing has been slower, and it will be till spring, especially with the major cold fronts we had in January, it put the snook in winter mode and they are very lethargic and they are not feeding much. Once the water warms back up, the snook should be back to their usual feeding patterns, but until then, I suggest letting them adjust to the weather change and go after some other species.
As you can see the fishing has been very good the past 4 weeks and February should be very good as we get closer to spring.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Lastly, I'm having surgery on Friday 1/26 and will be off the water for 7-8 weeks, so if you're looking for an inshore fishing trip in February or March, and don't know who to book, give me a ring and I'll put you in contact with a few of my captain buddies.
I am however booking trips for April, May and the rest of 2018, so if you're looking for an experienced fishing guide, give me a ring. With 15 years of guiding experience I can promise you a fun and exciting day on the water and plenty of bent fishing rods.
These pics are from older trips, I'll keep posting fishing reports over the next two months, but I won't be fishing till April.
If you're looking to book a trip in April, May, June or July or any time in 2018 give me a shout. If you're looking to book a trip in the next 60 days, I can hook you up with a couple of captain buddies

Click to Enlarge Photo

Tight Lines.
Capt. John


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Covering the Tampa Bay, Clearwater and St Petersburg area. Light tackle fishing for Snook, Redfish, Trout and more While cruising from spot to spot in our 24 ft custom Triton bay boat you will be riding in comfort, it has all the amenities. I'm a veteran fishing guide of 14 years and you'll be in good hands. Thanks for stopping by. Tight Lines... John

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