Well it’s the end of the year and most people are busy getting ready for Christmas and the New Year so fishing takes a back seat around the busy holiday. While many take this time to gear up for the New Year most don’t realize just how good the fishing can be on the South Shore Of Tampa Bay.
Let’s start by educating people why the east side of the bay better known as the South Shore is so good this time of year. The east shoreline which runs from Downtown Tampa all the way to the Skyway bridge offer some of the best fishing throughout the year but particularly this time of year. This area provides some of the best backcountry fishing you will see statewide. In addition to great flats fishing there are 4 major river systems that also feed into the bay from this shoreline. This is what many inshore species call home during the winter. These rivers offer warm water along with a steady diet of crustaceans for a good food source. The deep feeder creeks, docks, and residential canals offer plenty of shelter from the extreme cold water due to frequent cold fronts. This is important to all inshore species but Snook in particular need these winter waters to survive. It’s paradise right in our back yard.
Next question would be how to fish these areas. All are a little different but all offer similar traits that all draw the fish in. Greenbacks is by far my favorite bait but sometimes can be a hard to find. Look deep for bait as the flats are just getting too cold.Bring your big net with plenty of weight so you don’t spend half your day trying to catch Greenbacks. I also like to have some chum to draw the bait off the bottom. This is also a good time to take advantage of that good Sonar you spent all that money on. Bait will tend to lay on the bottom on those cold days but they won’t be able to hide. My Simrad with the new 3D technology helps me locate them.
Getting an early start is what most fishermen would say but this time of year the sun is your friend. This means you can sleep in and still have a very successful day. The sun on any given day will warm up the flats 5 to 7 degrees. This could be the difference between fishing and catching. Most winter trips start out a little slow but as that sun heats up the banks fishing starts to explode.
Next is what to expect to catch.Snook is tops on my list as they tend to feed frequently before the heart of winter hits. You will have some of your best Snook days when fishing this time of year. You can also expect to catch a lot of Trout and good size as well. This is a good time to get those artificials out and go to town. I love throwing any of the Mirrolure baits but don’t leave out the infamous Zman paddlerZ. They both work awesome for Trout this time of year. Shrimp is another great bait especially if you are out to catch reds. They are not big but catching those rat reds is a blast on light tackle
Last but not least would be a Christmas gift recommendation. So many people try to get a gift that someone really wants but just don’t know what to get. I offer gift certificates for fishing charters and are easily purchased. If you want to purchase a gift certificate for that special someone just shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on my cell 813-727-9890