An unusually long period of cold weather and vigorous winds have made for challenging fishing conditions. On days that are doable, fish can be caught, but something just short of a parka is required to stay comfortable. There is nothing worse than being needlessly cold when you leave a jacket in the car. The additional cargo is better to have and not use versus being miserably cold while you're supposed to be having a good time outdoors. Trout is a species that will bite on cold days. Depths of 6-15 feet are where winter specks bunch up when the water is chilly. Channels adjacent to grass flats and the mouths of some residential canals are a good place to start looking for sea trout. Ultralight gear is ideal for winter trout fishing. Subtle strikes are more easily detected with downsized gear. Also, the light stuff is more fun when fighting fish. When fishing artificial lures, slow the retrieve basically to a crawl. This entices lethargic fish that would rather not use energy to chase something moving fast. That's also why live shrimp can be so deadly this time of year. They are an easy meal and just about all fish in Tampa Bay eat shrimp.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531, firstname.lastname@example.org and fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.