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East Tampa Bay fishing report for Dec. 20

Bait. Bait has started moving deep, so look in the deep channels where the water is warmer, the ones close to flats and structures.

Snook. Snook are chewing well once the water warms, and the best bites have been in the afternoon. The live pilchards are king for bait, as well as jumbo shrimp if you're fishing docks. Look for the trout bite to improve steadily as the water temperature stabilizes.

Fly guys. Now is the time to begin stalking clean water redfish, the ones that spook if you breathe too heavily. They are staged on the dropoffs near oyster bars and mangrove roots at low tides. Look for them to grind on a crab pattern or a black and gold fly (similar to a black and gold shad tail). For me, that pattern seems to work year-round on almost all species. Cobia are showing up in their wintertime haunts and are a great adversary on fly, but bring the big stuff. You might need it!

Tim Whitfield can be reached at or (813) 714-0889.

East Tampa Bay fishing report for Dec. 20 12/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 5:48pm]
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