Monday, December 11, 2017
Outdoors

East Bay Fishing Report

Adapt and adjust. Flexibility is the name of the game. With the crazy weather pattern we have been experiencing over the last few weeks, being able to adapt to the conditions can be the difference between having a banner day and going home scratching your head.

Where. On consecutive warm days, I have been fishing my early spring spots and have been doing well on the snook, trout, and redfish. With the water still relatively clear, keeping as far away from the reds and scaling down tackle has been the key to getting more bites. We have been doing the best with either a free-lined rig or under a cork, both rigged with 10- 15-pound fluorocarbon leader and size 1 or 1/0 circle hook. Nose hooking your sardines has seemed to produce the best results, but a jig and soft plastic has helped reach wary redfish, especially when the wind has made casting live bait more difficult.

Cold weather tactics. When it gets cold, I have been moving a bit deeper and found that the trout will move out to find the climate they want. The snook seem to just stay where they are and just slow down their metabolism and eat less. On the colder days, I have been going a bit deeper and focusing on the outside of the long bars that line the southern end of our region. They have been producing a variety of fish and some quality table fare as well. On a recent trip, we caught trout, grouper, flounder, black sea bass, and mackerel all at the same spot.

To chum or not chum. I normally like to chum live bait, but lately I have had more success not. The birds have been much more aggressive than usual and are eating our chummers almost as soon as they hit the water, but the bigger problem is their presence. Fish have been programmed from birth to view birds as predators, and their shadows flying overhead make fish very wary and skittish. Resisting the temptation to chum live baits when birds are in the area and giving a spot a little more time than usual will help to increase your success. When birds are present, cutting baits into small pieces, dropping them off the side of the boat and letting them drift down current has kept the birds from dive-bombing my spots.

Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, [email protected] and online at fishingguidetampa.com.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: Bait schools near shore drawing kings, mackerel, bonito

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas. Bait schools are roaming just a couple of miles offshore, attracting kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have ...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17

Captainís Corner: Speckled sea trout can be easily caught on artificial lures

Speckled sea trout are one of the most reliable targets this time of year. Grass flats are usually empty because of extreme low tides. That causes higher concentrations of fish on the edges and in the deeper grass flats. No live bait is needed. A red...
Published: 12/01/17

Captainís Corner: Cooler weather lures decent gag grouper

Mild temperatures have allowed anglers to get out and explore many areas. Cooler weather has lured decent gag grouper. We expected them to arrive in the past month, and they havenít disappointed. Numerous rocks in 20- to 120-foot depths seem to be ho...
Published: 11/30/17

Captainís Corner: Donít have to go far offshore for grouper

When most anglers think of bottom fishing for grouper, they usually think that means taking a long run offshore. During late November and early December, grouper migrate close to shore, so a long run might not be necessary. There are times we target ...
Published: 11/28/17
Updated: 11/29/17