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Counting on Winter Patterns!

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Hello everyone! Thanks for reading my report! Christmas season is upon us and I have already sent out several 'Gift Certificates' for stocking stuffers! Don't forget, they are a great way to be asked to go on a fishing trip by the lucky recipient! We have settled into our normal winter patterns so this report will be short and to the point...
As many of you know, Trout are our main focus this time of year. I have been using mostly live shrimp and occasionally sardines if they are around. On a recent trip, another captain a few yards from me had his shrimp under a cork in 6 - 8 feet of water and his clients were getting hooked up every cast! I had been freelining baits towards the bottom and not getting a bite! That is a perfect example of how fish are unpredictable, because I never would expect them to rise up to chase a bait in colder waters like that. Turns out, they were foraging for food at the exact time the solar/lunar table said the fishing was best. Moon phases play such an important role combined with tidal flow. I will typically present baits several ways until we get some bites so I would have eventually seen the corked method working best, but thanks to my friend we all had a flurry of bites for a solid hour!
Sheepshead are also a target as well as Redfish if the tides are cooperative. Docks or oyster bars along mangroves and even seawalls have held both species. Pieces of shrimp threaded onto the hook and a split shot added for casting wight will attract either fish to eat. Both are great for the table if you are lucky enough to get some keepers. There are many undersized Reds around but the Sheepies are usually keeper sized at 12 inches or bigger with a bag limit of 15 per person a day!
Christmas break is coming as well as the New Year! Don't hesitate to get out and experience the beauty of the Tampa Bay area waters even in the winter months. Call 727-365-7560 or email me at to request a 'Gift Certificate' or book your special day out here! Merry Christmas and let's go fishing!

Capt. Brian

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