What's hot: After some foggy but beautiful days, there have been windy and cold days. But for the most part, the weather has allowed for reasonable boating and fishing conditions. Speckled trout and redfish are returning to the shallows and have been quite cooperative. On the nice days, the best bite has come on afternoons. Water temperatures are slightly above normal and have activated the usually lethargic fish.
Tip: Ultra-light gear allows subtle strikes to be detected. It also increases the fun factor. There are many good stories about huge fish being caught on the smallest and simplest of devices.
Options: Residential canals can be productive as well as offer a buffer from stout breezes. Live shrimp fished close to or under docks will do the trick. Downtown Tampa and the adjacent Hillsborough River have been holding snook. Both areas offer relief from the wind as well.
Seasonal: It is that time of year for seasonal maintenance. Whether outboards or reels, service these items before the shops get slammed at the beginning of spring.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.