Fishing News Flash

Good Numbers of Fish Around

The unpredictable and unprecedented weather has refused to subside.  Morning temperatures in the high thirties and low forties have persisted in to late February.  The bad news is that the redfish and trout tend to bite less aggressively in colder water.  The good news is that there are plenty of fish out there.  Schools of seatrout numbering from 20 to 100 fish have been sighted in the last few days as have small schools of redfish from 10 to 30 fish.  When day time temperatures approach sixty degrees, the bite seems to turn on and decent numbers of fish can be caught.  So look for the next warming trend and plan to be on the water.  You should be well rewarded. Sometime in the next few weeks, fishing should really break loose.   

Take What Nature Gives You

It's hard to believe, but Tampa Area temperatures dipped back into the high thirties during the night of the February 13th.  The redfish and trout that had recovered from January's artic blast were, once again, put off of their normal feeding patterns.  On yesterday's trip, with water temperatures barely reaching 50 degrees, it was time for a new approach...time to target the fish that doesn't know the meaning of cold...the sheepshead.  Sheepshead tend to congregate around near shore structures...docks, bridges, pilings and oyster bars... in February and March and will eat when everything else goes on strike.   These fish are designed specifically to eat crusteceans...barnacles, oysters, shrimp, crabs etc. and will only respond to this type of bait.  With a bucket of crushed oysters, our trip took us to a local bridge with lots of barnacle encrusted pilings.  Once anchored near this structure, the crushed oysters and small bits of frozen shrimp were regularly dropped over the side of the boat every 5 minutes or so.  Once the area was initially "primed", split shotted shrimp were dropped to the bottom and then reeled up half a crank so that the line was taught.  After ten minutes or so, sheepshead began to show up and the first rod bent over.  The bite never got hot, but by patiently working our area were were able to hook seven or eight fish...ranging from fourteen inches to...well, several larger fish broke off in the pilings so who's to say...but fish exceeding five pounds can certainly be caught in these locations this time of year.  Looking like an overgrown black and white sunfish with a serious set of dentures, sheepshead will fight hard and are excellent to eat...and they'll save the day when nothing else feels like eating. The current weather forecast has this most recent cold front leaving the area by this coming weekend so fishing for trout and redfish should begin to improve in three to four days.  

Quality Redfish Show Up

Tampa Area Redfishing had been spotty at best after the heavy does of cold this area received in mid January.  As weather moderated late in the month however, good quality fish in the 26 to 28 inch range began to show up on area flats and spoil islands.  Timing was important in intercepting these fish however.  On the days immediately preceding a cold front, or even on the morning of a day when a front would pass through later in the afternoon, these fish seemed most inclined to eat.  Also, as with redfishing througout the year, it seemd that was easier to locate these fish on the higher phases of the tide.  The third ingredient was finding the mullet.  So if you found yourself fishing a pre-front day, on a high tide, in the middle of a school of mullet, you were probably pulling on some nice redfish.  Shrimp and pinfish were the baits of choice.  Better tides will start up again the week of February 14th, so target the more available seatrout until the 14ht rolls around.  Good luck.



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