January is one of the toughest months for fishing in Tampa Bay. Crazy wind speeds after cold fronts, air temperatures bouncing like a basketball, and fickle fish can test perseverance and patience.
Tip: The best bet has been residential canal systems, which offer a buffer from wind and waves. This is the time of year when canals can be especially productive.
Tactics: Live shrimp are ideal bait because they are slow and an easy target for cold-water, lethargic fish. Cast them close to the docks weighted with a split shot.
Species: Tasty fish can be caught in people's back yards. Redfish, black drum, sheepshead and flounder will bite on cold days.
Tackle: A medium action spinning rod is the most practical and user-friendly set-up for this type of fishing. An accurate cast is required. The wind in this situation can be problematic, and that's where patience is put to the test.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa Bay and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or snookfish.com.