What's hot: Lately fishing in Tampa Bay has been a feast-or-famine affair. Air temperatures are constantly changing, and this past week had challenging tides. But with a little patience, good catches can be obtained. Speckled trout is in season, pleasing anglers across our region. Typically, trout will cooperate when it gets chilly, which makes targeting them a real crowd pleaser this time of year.
Tips: Soft plastic jigs fished slowly will trigger many strikes from cool water trout. Let the lure sink to the bottom and retrieve it slowly. Live shrimp are hard to beat as far as natural bait goes. On cold mornings, trout bunch into deeper water adjacent to grass flats. On really warm days, trout can be found on the flats. When fishing grass flats, the live shrimp under a float technique is a time-tested method.
Tackle: Light (or even ultra-light) tackle is preferred for winter trout. Light equipment is not only more fun while hooked up, but the sensitive gear makes subtle strikes much more noticeable. Short fish should not be handled if possible. Breaching the delicate slime layer of a trout is just about a death sentence for the animal. Using one of the hook-out devices or simply holding the jig head and giving it a few soft shakes makes release much easier.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached atsnookfish.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 310-6531.