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Tight Line Report ~ News

Winter is here with water temperatures in the low 60’s and strong windy fronts pass through on a regular basis.  This means it’s time to change tactics.

 Winter fishing in Tampa Bay can be incredibly rewarding if you change with the conditions.   First, locations where you used to catch Snook, Redfish, and Sea Trout in the spring, summer and fall are not going to produce fish.  These fish along with many other species of fish move to their winter habitats – rivers, residential canals, power plants, and deeper – mud bottom/dark bottom holes that retain heat.

I have learned that fishing in the winter in Tampa Bay is usually better a little later in the mornings when the sun has had time to warm up the water.   Tides are still very important and there are fantastic fishing spots that work great with on an outgoing tide but won’t produce anything on an incoming tide.  YOU MUST LEARN which spots are incoming spots and which are out going spots and plan your trip accordingly.  Another factor that must be considered is the height of the tides.  I have seen experienced Guides run around because the lowest tides of the year are in the winter.   Again, you must plan accordingly. 

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BAIT
Two other important factors to consider are bait and weather.  During the winter white bait (scaled sardines/pilchards) and Threadfin Herring are difficult to find and often not he bait of choice.  During the winter season, shrimp and artificial baits are much more productive and often the go to baits. Fish metabolic rates are also affected by environmental conditions, such as temperature.  The metabolism process will speed up with warming temperatures, meaning a fish's metabolic rate increases as the surrounding water temperature increases.
 The cold temperatures slow the process.  The same is true for presentation of your baits.  Work your baits slower- much slower.  I often tell clients if you think you are working that jig (bouncing it off the bottom) too slow, slow it down.
PRO TIP !
This time of year can be very dangerous on the water.  Cold fronts can pop up and strong winds will produce nasty white caps and treacherous sea conditions even inside Tampa Bay.  So, please do a weather check and if conditions don’t allow for venturing very far into the bay or to distant locations, stay in protected waters or stay home and work on your fishing gear.

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