Fishing inside of the Tampa Bay area after the red tide we had last year has been rather challenging due to the lack of fish/stock levels. Fishing regulations in place need to be reconsidered due to the loss last year. I’ve been conducting all of my business/fishing up north of the Pasco County Line this winter.
Cold fronts have begun dropping temperatures unseasonably early this fall which is good for the cause. Cool temperatures put a damper on algal blooms making the water crystal clear, perfect for sight fishing. Winter solstice means our big low tides are happening in the morning around the moon phases and its also a time to look for redfish to be in larger groups. The slower tides a quarter/half moon will have the fish more spread out in areas the water congests whether it’s a point or bar. Weightless fly patterns work best on calm days when fish are spooky but if we can get away with a weighted fly, it’s preferred.
Spotted Sea Trout will be working their way in shallower as things cool down and make for a fun but challenging adversary. Naturally, as the fish gets more shallow, the spookier it becomes. Anglers have to learn to unfold a lengthy leader but also a soft landing cast. Large spotted sea trout like larger flies such as deceivers, puglisi’s, and even top water’s. Keeping them in the water will decrease mortality rate as they’re extremely fragile.
Snook will remain active on the warmer days in-between cold fronts but are working their way back to their winter haunts. Look for them to be putting on weight not far away from where they’ll be spending the next few months.