By Neil Taylor
Finally some winter weather: The fish will be starved for food, coming out from the creeks and rivers to find more to eat. Redfish and speckled trout will be excellent lasting for a few months of great “temperate weather” months. If there is a continuation of winter-like weather, stay inside Tampa Bay for better action. If there are extended periods of warmer daytime temperatures the barrier islands around Clearwater, Dunedin and Palm Harbor will end up with a lot of redfish and trout opportunities. The 12 Fathom SlamR or 3″ Mullet will connect on both species. The water will still be on the cool side so keep the presentation “slow” for best results.
The south shore, out of darkness, has become a good destination again. The red tide touched it and drove fish out of there. Things have normalized and it is much better there again.
February is just flat out “The best sheepshead fishing” month of the year. Barnacle and crustacean eaters, get crabs or live shrimp on a 1/0 hook down to them on bridge pilings, docks, rockpiles and seawalls with just enough weight to keep it down where they are. Filleted out, cut into chunks, dipped in egg, flour and tossed in hot oil- sheepshead are fantastic dinnertime treats.
Silver trout and whiting will also invade the area if better weather settles in. The frigid conditions of the two previous months stopped them from moving into normal areas they’re caught this time of year. Silly Willy jigs bounced off the bottom will do the trick.
Redfish action has been solid and will remain pretty consistent for several more months. Trout. Trout are easy. But you have to go to the right locations for big trout.
Fort Desoto, steer clear. The red tide severely impacted this area.
There are great tides a lot of the month of February. Most of us “sat it out” a lot of the past two month: Dust everything off and get back into the action!
Kayak Fishing Skool, off to a great start in 2017. A large group listened in on “Topwater Lures.” The series continues, February 23: the topic is “Speckled Trout.” Prep for the April 29 Captain Mel Classic, the March 23 session is on “Redfish”. The Classic, longest trout, longest redfish, longest combined inches format remains the same as all years past.
As usual, be careful out there!