Temperature dip impacts: The first cold front of the year messed things up for a few days. Bait was difficult to get early in the morning but got easier as the sun made its way higher into the sky. This also affected the bite. It switched from a morning bite into an afternoon one. You can expect things to return to normal as the temperature continues to return to normal for this time of year.
Mornings and afternoons: When the water is cool and the tide is low, try using cut bait the first half of the day. Fish are more likely to respond to cut bait than chasing down a live greenback or lure worked quickly through the water. Once the afternoon sets in, then switch over to live bait. Redfish, snook and trout are eating the cut bait around Weedon Island. Make sure to place your cut bait into a sand hole surrounded by grass. Otherwise the pinfish and blowfish will tear your bait apart.
Clear water: Every day the water is getting cleaner as the algae die off. This means you have to be quieter and make longer casts at the fish. Try using at least an 8-foot pole to make a longer cast.
Chum's your chum: Spanish mackerel and cobia are being caught around the shipping markers and shallow water shoals throughout Tampa Bay. Live scaled sardines have been the ticket. Chumming heavily with scaled sardines will bring big schools of fish to the boat.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.