What's hot: With the water temp now in the mid 60s, the trout, redfish, sharks and cobia are the best bet for December.
Redfish. The Redfish are still going strong in Tampa Bay, especially around Weedon Island, up in the Palm River flats and over in the Safety Harbor at Coppers Point on the back oyster bars. The best time is at the end of the outgoing tide and the beginning of the incoming tide around the potholes. There are a few ways to fish them: you can use live bait like shrimp, pinfish, or creek chubs fishing the potholes. Another way is to use cut bait, then toss them into the hole and when the smell goes down current, they will follow it to the hole you're chumming in. Artificial baits like a jerk bait or a gold spoon also work well.
Trout. Trout action is in full swing as long you have good moving water. They have been eating shrimp under a popping cork. Free-line fishing the shallower flats in the potholes also have yielded some nice trout.
Cobia and sharks. Cobia are showing up on the flats around the power plant on the backs of rays and manatees. I would also check buoys and markers and the flats around the power plants, but also keep an eye out for sharks on those same flats. I like anchoring up and putting out a chum block out and waiting for the cobia and the sharks to come to me instead of chasing them unless they are up on top.
Tip: I would have many different types of rods rigged for what you are planning to target that day whether you are fishing for trout to sharks. If it's throwing a jig or putting out a pinfish under a popping cork for cobia.
Capt. Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at [email protected]