What's hot: Fishing in Tampa Bay has been anything from on fire to on ice. Between the fronts, as the water warms, snook and redfish turn on. The key is live chumming with well full of frisky baits. The bait pushes off the flats between fronts but it is still available; a good bottom machine and some minor knowledge about how to read it will help fill the well. The reds and snook are feeding well in creek and canal mouths and shallow grass flats. Areas like these will give the fish a quick escape as another cold front makes its way south. Chumming will get the bite going, then a few stragglers will keep them interested.
Tip: How do you know if you chum too much? It's easy — if terns and gulls are too aggressive and keep you from casting, it's too much. For fly and artificial anglers, dart type soft plastics have been the top producer in the soft arena. Walk the dog type hard plastics worked around mullet have produced nice catches of redfish and some stocky trout. The water needs to reach 70 degrees and the fish following flies will eat. When spring arrives we should see consistency in the bite.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.