During the first half of this month, we had to endure summer like conditions, but for the rest of December we will be experiencing below normal temperatures. This change has fish on the move and unpredictable. As we settle into winter however, fish will become more stationary and willing to eat.
Snook are moving into the back bays with muddy bottoms for warmth and on frigid days, are more active from noon on. Snook tend to move slower in the winter also. This is the easiest time to catch them on a large shrimp or a piece of cut bait.
Redfish have moved into the creeks and rivers throughout Tampa Bay and tend to prefer banks lined with oyster beds and in the deeper bends. Residential dock pilings are another place to locate redfish. Shrimp is an excellent choice of bait for redfish during the winter. Whenever I am using shrimp, I break some up and use as chum also. The smell of shrimp in the water attracts redfish and other species as well. Chunks of cut up ladyfish is excellent bait for redfish too.
Seatrout prefer deeper water in the winter months as well. I have found over the years seatrout will mingle with redfish, but with snook, not so much. Many times, I will go to one of my favorite redfish spots and start catching seatrout. A few bonuses about winter fishing for seatrout is they love shrimp, and they do not have worms.
I have not seen an influx of cobia or sharks at the power plants yet, but that should change after this next cold front. The unseasonably warm weather conditions that we experienced most of this month has kept the bay water temperature in the low 70’s, so the action at the outflows has been disappointing.
No matter what time of year, something is always biting in Tampa Bay.