WARM UP TO SUCCESS: Finding warm water is key this time of year. Your temperature gauge can be a great tool to utilize if you have one on your boat. Water that is just a few degrees warmer than its surrounding can be a magnet for game fish. Finding areas of warm water can be the difference between catching a few fish and keeping the rods bent all day. Rivers such as the Little Manatee and Alafia are great areas to find and fish warm water. Mud and docks hold heat throughout the day better than sand.
POWER FISHING: The Apollo Beach power plant is also a great area. The water that is pumped out of the power plant is much warmer than the surrounding water and is a major fish attractant. This attraction will only get stronger as winter gets closer.
BAIT: Whitebait will continue to be the bait of choice until it leaves the flats. Whitebait is still pretty easy to net on almost all area flats and that should continue until we have some sustained cold weather. Shrimp are starting to move their way up the depth chart and should soon begin producing fish equally as well as whitebait.
DOCKS: The dock fishing in our region has been on fire lately. Snook and redfish are feeding very aggressively on free lined baits tossed under and around dock pilings. If a fish dinner is part of your plan, docks fishing offers a great opportunity to cash in on an excellent sheepshead and mangrove snapper bite. Using light leader and smaller hooks is imperative to getting these keen-eyed finicky fish to bite.
Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, firstname.lastname@example.org or fishingguidetampa.com.