What's hot: Winter is an incredibly fickle time of year for fishing in Tampa Bay. Occasional wicked cold fronts mixed with beautiful days on end lead to confusion. Speckled trout is one of the most cooperative species right now. There is the occasional flounder, sea bass, small black drum and redfish, but the trout bite is stealing the show.
Tips: Live shrimp can increase winter catches of multiple species. They are a time-saver if you're looking for scaled sardines, which are here for most of the year. The line at the bait shop is still easier than slinging around a bunch of cold lead on an early January morning. Also, lethargic fish do not want to exert much effort to feed when it is cold. Shrimp are a slow and easy target for them.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.