8 In the north end of Tampa Bay, “The sheepshead bite remains good. Rock piles, oyster bars, bridge pilings, and anything with barnacles are holding them. I’m fishing for them with pinched shrimp on a jig head,” reports Capt. Jake Whitfield Florida Outdoor Adventures (813-997-5980). Black drum up to 24 inches are also mixed in with the sheepshead. Trout are biting shrimp fished under a popping cork in deeper water of the creeks. Some “rat” redfish are also in the same areas, Whitfield says.

7 At St. Petersburg, “Sheepshead are still all over the place. All the canal docks, rock piles, bridges, and jetties are holding them. Fiddler crabs and shrimp fished with light tackle is the key for these fish,” reports Larry Mastry of Mastry’s Tackle (727-896-8889). The trout bite has picked up off Pinellas Point. Offshore, there’s a good hogfish bite north of the shipping channel in 50 feet of water, Mastry says.

There is a silver lining to all of this bad weather news however.  First, the worst is behind us and second, there are plenty of big seatrout out there waiting to be caught as fishing pressure has been incredibly light.  On several recent Tampa Fishing Charters, large trout were caught but both patience and effort were required. Once an area was located that had trout, action was generally not fast.  A fish or two would be caught, then the boat would be repositioned and another fish or two would be caught. As is usually the case, the bite was better on moving water.  With cold temperatures resulting in an absence of whitebait, large shrimp were the go to bait.  Another difficulty created by the weather was that, due to a shortage of small fish, birds were hyper aggressive and would relentlessly attempt to steal the free-lined select shrimp being presented.  A trick used by some Tampa Fishing Guides for minimizing bait loss is to add a slip bobber which holds the bait just off the bottom but also add a small split shot 6 – 12 inches up from the bait so when casting, the bait sinks quickly and is not consumed by a bird. The expectation on most Tampa / Clearwater Fishing Charters is that limits of trout will be secured on every trip.  This should again become reality as February arrives with average temperatures being higher…yes, January is the coldest month. 

Description: greenish gray on back, shading to silvery fish in dark waters showing gold on throat, pelvic, and anal fins; deep flattened body with small mouth; no scutes; 22 to 27 soft dorsal rays; 20 to 23 soft anal rays; origin of anal fin slightly behind origin of second dorsal.

Thank you very much for the review. The fishing has been outstanding this month and I am glad I was able to take you guys on a charter to be part of it. I hope you enjoy the fresh Trout fillets for Christmas Eve dinner….More

Fishing in Tampa Bay is diverse. From inshore and backcountry fishing for snook, redfish, sea trout and tarpon, to the nearshore zone for snapper, kingfish, grouper, permit, and cobia – Fishing in the state of Florida really doesn’t get any better than what you will find right here in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay has some of the best places to fish in the state – even if you never set foot on a boat. Landlubbers can cast a line from dozens of beaches or bridges (watch for other fishermen and learn the best times and baits from them) as well as multiple piers where fishing is the top activity.

Tampa Bay has had a great Snapper and Snook bite with a few mackerel and sharks being caught as well. Snapper fishing around the bay bridges and public reefs around near Down town St.Pete or off Macdill air force base have been providing plenty of snapper over the 10” keeper size limit, and for there size these fish pull hard! Snook fishing in the bay has been decent, but not crazy good. Most of the fish have been in the mid 20” range. For the anglers wanting sharks there have been a good number of sharks patrolling the bait schools throughout the bay.

Description: pale body color, yellow above, silver to white below; one or two prominent canine teeth usually at tip of upper jaw; inside of mouth yellow; no well-defined black spots on back; 10 to 12 soft rays in anal fin; no chin barbels.

Tarpon are one of Tampa’s premier Sport Fishing charters species in Tampa Fl. When you hook into a Tarpon, aka The Silver King, on your Sport Fishing bucket list, you will know you have hooked the fish of a lifetime!

Another one of Florida’s staple game fish, this backcountry brawler thrives in virtually all parts of the Bay. The elusive Snook is caught anywhere from beaches to docks, mangroves, jetties and seawalls. Safe to say, it is uniquely flexible in finding itself a nourishing habitat.

Red Drum typically congregate in many of the same places as Trout and Snook. If you’re looking for monster Reds though, they usually rally a few miles off the beaches or near the various ship channels. Happy hunting!

Captain Blick is set up to fish The Tampa Bay area from his beautiful, fully equipped, 2017 24′ Sea Hunt, with a smooth 300 hp Yahama 6 cyl. 4 stroke motor, with plenty of room to fish!. So if you’re ready to experience all that Tampa Bay has to offer the saltwater angler, give Captain Lee Blick a call, and book your Charter of a Lifetime today! (813) 802-6667

• Ready To Run: If you’re targeting the bridge big boys—tarpon, sharks, cobia—you may have to run down a hefty fish. You may not have time to pull anchor, so rig a float to your anchor line and simply uncleat the rope and toss the whole deal overboard when go-time arises. After the fight, return to your float and retie your anchor line at your original position.