What's hot: By December, most mackerel are well south of Tampa Bay, basking in the warmth of the Keys. But our unseasonably warm weather has kept many fish active. The number of Spanish mackerel off the beaches is staggering. We even saw a fair number of king mackerel chasing baitfish. The strong east winds seem to draw the bait and fish closer to the beach.
Tips: Nearshore bottom fishing has been fair at best, surprising because of the shallow water temperatures. Farther offshore, the bottom bite has produced pretty good catches in 55-70 feet. Another nearshore target has been the silver trout, which are just as likely to strike at tandem rigged small jigs. Silver trout are great to introduce young anglers to the sport because they are eager to bite and easy to catch on light tackle.
Larry Blue charters the Niki Joe from Madeira Beach Marina. Call (727) 871-1058 or visit captainlarryblue.com.