Wind relief: After several consecutive windy days, there have been a few breaks in the weather that have allowed for reasonable boating and fishing conditions. Cabin fever can really set in after a few grey cold days in a row and some anglers are doing something about it.
What's Hot: Speckled trout and redfish are returning to the shallows and have been quite cooperative. On the nice days, the afternoon fishing has been the time of the best bite. Water temperatures are above normal and have activated the usually lethargic fish.
Bait: Live shrimp or soft plastic jigs have worked equally well for both species. Be patient and fish slowly for optimum results.
Tip: If it is windy, many areas in the downtown Tampa are protected from the often howling winds of winter. From the Hillsborough River all the way past McKay Bay, good spots can be found. There is ample structure available as well as mangrove areas when choosing where and what to fish for.
Options: Another idea for windy days or just an easy trip, the Ballast Point Pier is a viable option for that part of the bay. They have recently renovated the boat ramp and have food and live bait available right there. Monster sheepshead and multiple other species hang around the new pier. It is an easy trip with kids, and if fishing is slow, there is a nice playground nearby. All in all, it is a nice city park.
Seasonal: It is that time of year again for seasonal maintenance. Whether outboards or reels, it is time now to service these items before the shops get slammed at the beginning of the spring season. We all know how the passage of time does hurl on by, so do it soon.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa Bay and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com.