The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures being in the 80s all week, it has allowed water temperatures to move into the low 70s. Weíre slowly starting to move into our springtime pattern. Big trout over 20 inches continue to be caught on a regular basis. They are keying in on big white bait or jumbo shrimp. I know itís a run, but if this is what you are targeting, making a trip to the Skyway for bait is the trick. Make sure to use a bobber or trim the tail when fishing these big baits. While trout love them, you will need the bobber to slow the bait down. If artificial is your bait of choice, I recommend a jig head heavy enough to bounce it across the bottom. Fish it with a plastic 4-inch shad. Root-beer color is productive in darker water such as canals and rivers. Use a lighter or clear color if fishing the flats. Snook are starting to show up in their spring hangouts. While it has not been gang busters, weíre catching a few on white bait. If the weather continues the way it is, expect them to fire off in the next couple of weeks.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.