On the east side of the bay, cobia, pompano and sharks are still doing well at the power plant on the cooler days after a front. The best baits for cobia are a half-ounce jig head with 8- to 10-inch plastic worm. With pompano and sharks, I've been throwing a ¼- to ⅜-ounce jig head tipped with a shrimp. Sheepshead fishing during the winter months can be fantastic. Look for them around docks, rock piles, rocky shorelines and artificial reefs. The leaders I use are 15-pound test fluorocarbon and only 9- to 15-inches long, tied to a 1/0 hook and just enough weight to get it down. I like using short leaders and small hooks for sheepshead. A longer leader doesn't allow you to feel a bite as good. Larger hooks make it harder to hook a fish. The best baits are shrimp, sand fleas or small crabs such as mud crabs or fiddler crabs.
Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at email@example.com.