Drastic weather changes have anglers and fish seemingly confused. Near-record cold a few weeks ago, followed by record heat, has wreaked havoc with winter fishing in Tampa Bay.
Perseverance and searching has paid off on recent trips because things are somewhat out of the norm.
Tip: With barometric pressure and air temperatures bouncing, fishing deeper, and slower, has been a catalyst for strikes during challenging and differing conditions. There are fish on the shallow flats, but they are fickle to noise and subtle water temperature changes.
What's hot: Trout have been the most cooperative lately. They tend to congregate in groups this time of year. When this is the case, many fish can be caught from the same area. Soft plastic jigs, fished slowly, are deadly on cool water trout.
Regulations: Spotted sea trout come back into season for the southern region of Florida, including the bay area, on Thursday. Until then, they must be released, preferably unharmed.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at snookfish.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 310-6531.