Inshore: Die-hard pompano anglers may have one last shot at them before winter runs them off. On a recent outing, Doc Hart of Doc's Goofy Jigs fame, and Paul Bristow from Love's Lures teamed up for a morning of pompano fishing. Drifting the outgoing tide, both boated pompano using their own jigs. Hart caught his fish on a gold G3, and Bristow landed his on an all-white jig. They also landed Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish.
Offshore: With the gulf temperature loitering around the 70-degree mark, king mackerel are still biting, at least for a little while yet. The Clearwater hard-bottom area, just southwest of the pass, is typically the place to be this time of year. But, if the fronts continue to muddy the water there, expect the fish to search out clean water. Head to the shipping channel and start around markers 7 and 8 in search of bait.
Bottom fishing is hot in the 30- to 50-foot depth range. Gag grouper will hit cut sardines, pinfish, and threadfin herring at first, but when that fades, put down the live bait.
Landlubber: Winter means wade fishing. Low, low tides expose creeks, drop-offs, channels, pools and points that aren't normally seen during the higher tides of summer. Reds, snook, trout and flounder will seek out these areas when the water drops. It does mean a stealthy approach is necessary, especially since the fish are shallow and many eyes are watching. Long-cast reels paired with 7- to 8-foot rods are a must. Free-lined tail-hooked select shrimp will get their attention. So will dragging a light 1/16-ounce jig dressed with a root-beer split-tail body in front of their noses.
Tournaments: Team Walleye II with captain John Thomas and crew Anthony Thomas, Steve McCrakin, Brian Calzon and Mike Millittis took seventh place in the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship in Biloxi, Miss., held Nov. 18-22. Thomas' team weighed a 41-pound kingfish on the first day and caught even a bigger fish on Day 2. Their 51.09-pounder was the biggest fish weighed on the second day, winning the daily Calcutta.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or firstname.lastname@example.org.