The Tampa Bay Times

Frigid temperatures, gusty winds and small craft advisories earlier in the week may have set us back a bit.  A look ahead however holds promise.  Silver trout had made their annual invasion along Madeira and Redington beaches and will return as conditions improve.  Catching them two at a time on tandem rigged jigs and light spinning tackle can make up what they lack in size.  Store bought rigs work great, or make your own.  I like a ¼ oz. jig head on the bottom and a 1/8 on top.  Thirty pound test will prolong the fraying process from their abrasive mouths.  Experiment with colors of soft plastic tails to find which are more productive on a given day.  Pale pink, white and rootbeer have each worked well.  Tipping your jig head with shrimp works wonders when getting them located, once you’re in them good it won’t be necessary.  Some kingfish had even made a resurgent showing as water temperatures had flirted with the seventies.  Some catches off the beaches north of John’s Pass were reported just before the weather turned.  Sheepshead will remain steadfast the rest of this month and through next.  Now’s when reefs, bridges, jetties, docks and rock piles nearly everywhere are holding some.  I’ve always liked the rocky edges along the ship’s channel in the bay when sheepie hunting.  The by-catch of mangos, grouper, flounder, grunts and other miscellaneous species can provide nonstop action.  Yesterdays’ new moon has created some exceptionally strong tides.  If fishing the channel – check a tide chart and try to choose your hours wisely.

Captain Jay Mastry