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Tampa Bay Flats Heat Up

Capt. Thom Rodgers
January 26, 2012
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report

Brant Woodard and I crushed the Reds and big Speckled Trout today out of Cockroach Bay. What a difference a weeks worth of warm up makes. In my last report complaining about the cold water temps set the tone for fishing. The recent spring quality warmup is just what the doctor ordered. Throwing topwater Mirrolures around the heavy grass mixed in with potholes paid off in spades. Water was so low we had to wade in to knee deep water, but it was well worth it. The water was actually comfortable. Big difference from 2 weeks ago. Big trout are spooky and wading let's you get close... real close. Spend some time studying the wind as you make your approaches to your fishing spots. Get the wind to your back so you can make long casts with the wind. This will cut down on the wind knots in your braided lines and make your day way more enjoyable. Sandy potholes pay off. It helps if you see some fish but any pothole is worth a few casts. Big trout are masters of invisibility. I never saw most of the big ones that crush topwaters in gin clear water and bright sun.
After an hour or two of hammering the trout with a few reds mixed in, the water began coming in strong and was approaching sensitive body parts. The bite turned off. No problem. Back in the boat, head for the deeper edges and cuts on the flooding tide. We began to work Gulps on mission 1/8 oz jig heads and work inshore island edges. Woodard threw a Redfish Magic with a gold blade. The Jig is suspended just under the whirling blade. It's basically a Bass bait. I laughed when he put it on. I don't laugh at it anymore! He caught Reds immediately.
Windage and long casts are key again. Picked up 10 or 12 Reds 22 to 25 inches. Not huge... but fun and steady enough to make for an enjoyable and great Florida day.
If you want to try this style of artificial lures fishing, call me for a fun fishing charter. I do live bait Fishing Charters as well in the same style. I like to throw artificials at certain times of the year (now is the time) and will teach you if you would like to learn this technique.
Next weeks cool down does not look to be severe so the fishing should remain pretty much the same for a couple of weeks. The trout (Big Ones to 25") should be strong through April, when it peaks. I normally could take or leave a trout bite, but when the big uns are hitting I have to admit they are a lot of fun to catch. They are beautiful to look at for a moment, as we release them. Pinch down on most of the barbs on your plugs (leave a few barbs) and help reduce damage to these big Trout. This will save yourself some time on the release as well. Let's go fishin!!

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Captain Thom Rodgers: I am pleased that you are considering spending your day with me. Tarpon? I'll get you one (or maybe a few). I can show you an enjoyable and productive day on the water. I've been fishing in the Tampa Bay Area since I was 14. If you want an enjoyable day on the water in a safe boat AND you want to catch some fish....CALL ME NOW. The Tarpon Fishing was unbelievable last year and this year should be just as good. Book your trip NOW before the best dates are gone. Let's go

Contact Info:

Tarpon Time Fishing Charters
2317 Gulf Dr North
Unit 1 upstairs
Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
Phone: 813-917-5270
Alt. Phone: 813-229-2778
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