We continue to be blessed with great weather. Fish seem already to be transitioning into their spring habitats. Bait has shown back up in Tampa Bay but in deeper water. With extremely low winter tides that can limit where you fish, you might want to target inshore reefs and rock piles. Visit myfwc.com since it has a list of artificial reefs around the area. Common catches on these reefs this time of year are sheepshead and silver trout. Catching 5- to 10-pound sheepshead is not uncommon. Tearing a live shrimp and just using half has worked. A 15-pound leader with a Nos. 1 or 2 hook and a small split shot should work. Sheepshead are notorious for stealing your bait. Keep your line tight and as soon as you feel that first bump, set the hook. Silver trout are abundant. Snook are pushing out of their winter holes and onto flats and mangrove shorelines early. With white bait showing back up in the bay, it has made catching trophy fish easy. Presenting a nice bait in front of snook this time of year is hard for them to resist. Remember, take caution when handling these big breeder fish. Take a quick picture and release quickly.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.