We have finally had a couple good cold fronts push through and hang around long enough to cool the water temperatures throughout the bay. As we move towards December, we will sometimes switch gears and do some different types of fishing. Speckled Trout, Flounder, and Sheepshead are a few of my favorites that are great to fish for during the winter months.

Description: long, slim fish with broad depressed head; lower jaw projects past upper jaw; dark lateral stripe extends through eye to tail; first dorsal fin comprised of 7 to 9 free spines; when young, has conspicuous alternating black and white horizontal stripes.

Once you get the party rocking, freeline live shrimp, pilchards or threads on 2/0 circle hooks toward the pilings. Let out line in 5-foot increments to “count” back and locate the hot zone. In strong current or choppy conditions, add a splitshot or replace the circle hook with a jighead to keep your bait from kiting too high in the water column.

Florida residents fishing for saltwater species from the shore or from a structure fixed to shore are required to have a shoreline fishing license. The annual resident shoreline fishing license is now free. Those who obtain the license over the phone or off the internet will have to pay a convenience fee of less than $5. Resident anglers may consider purchasing a $17.00 one-year saltwater license which covers both shoreline and watercraft recreational fishing.

It’s January and, just like every January for the past 28 years, Old Salt is putting on the Johnny Kellar Inshore Fishing Tournament. We started this tournament due to the very special relationship several Old Salt leaders had with the young Johnny Kellar. Johnny was afflicted with Hemophilia, loved fishing and was in need of an assist. He found one with Old Salt. Read more on the beginnings of the tournament and our special relationship with a fine young man.

My brother Luke fishes this Rapala X-Rap with and without the red feathers in the back in both fresh and salt water, but depending on where you are fishing (and what species) you can try it with or without.

Make sure to enroll in the annual no-fee Recreational Marine Fishing Registry before going fishing in the marine and coastal district waters or when fishing in the Hudson River and its tributaries for “migratory fish of the sea” (e.g. striped bass).

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Although high-grade conventional saltwater reels and rods provide the necessary backbone for big game anglers fishing offshore, those who are just beginning to fish in saltwater are better off starting out with a quality medium weight spinning combo. Unless you are already well versed in the art of casting a conventional reel, a spinning reel will help you to cast further while avoiding the frustrating backlashes and bird’s nests that are inherent with conventional gear. A quality spinning combo that is rated for 10 to 25 test line will also cover you in a variety of different venues from surf and pier fishing to drifting in bays or intertidal estuaries.

4 At Fort DeSoto Park, the sheepshead bite is still pretty good around the bridges and any area with structure. Lots of “rat” redfish are still being caught around the park. There are also a lot of small trout up to 14 inches being caught. “There’s a good amount of snook around, but the cold weather has made them lethargic. They’ve got lockjaw,” reports Capt. Claude Hinson, of the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108).

Captain Blick is a Professional Guide and USCG licensed (#1082866) boat Captain. He is an accomplished salt water angler, and will put you on the fish. So, I say again… 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!

We take fishing regulations seriously because we’re committed to conservation. It’s important to know and respect the local fishing regulations to help protect and sustain the fisheries. At best, it’s good sportsmanship. At worst, being unfamiliar is a prescription for fines and penalties. We must all do our small part in protecting the fisheries for future generations to come. Please learn more about Florida fishing regulations and how to acquire your fishing license.

Bounty Hunter Florida Sport Fishing Charters & Guide Service Inc., in Clearwater, gives fishing charter services to Tampa Metro area clients. Light tackle and fly fishing options are available, and the company’s owner and Captain, Robert McCue, will take passengers through Tampa Bay and other waters in the area. Members of the Bounty Hunter Florida Sport Fishing Charters & Guide Service Inc. have broken Eight International Game Fish Association World Records. Mr. McCue has been featured in National Geographic for providing one of the nation’s “Top 100 Outdoor Adventures.”

Almost all of the area’s most popular species can be targeted on fly. This includes Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, Sea Trout, Cobia and more. The water clears up significantly Fall thru Spring, allowing for an unparalleled sight fishing experience. While mainly an inshore activity, there’s no shortage of nearshore fly fishing opportunities either. Among others, Mackerel and Albacore are well known to take an inviting fly.

Talavera builds on the Shimano legacy of high performance saltwater rods with all-new rod tapers built to punish the fish and not the angler. Designed with high quality materials and components, Talavera delivers exceptional power and durability for inshore and offshore fishing.

Pocket Change Inshore Fishing Charters include everything you need, from a fishing license to quality tackle. Depending on the species, you can keep your catch and Capt. Anthony will clean and fillet it for you.

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.

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You can now subscribe to an electronic mailing list and receive information from the DEC Division of Marine Resources concerning updated fishing regulations, upcoming fishery meetings and other current events concerning the local fishing industries. Upon subscribing to the mailing list, you will be able to receive fishing information quickly, sent to your e-mail address.