Bottom fishing in Tampa Bay has temporarily slowed a bit. We’re still catching all the usual suspects: grouper, grunts, sheepshead and mangos. But not with the aggression it was ten degrees or so ago when the water temperature was warmer. A fact finding mission to several of our areas fishing piers this week turned up few secrets. A lack of birds, bait and anglers at both piers on Fort Desoto pretty much told the story. Although I did observe at least some bait inside the “T” of both structures, it wasn’t plentiful. A couple snook in the surf along the approach to the gulf pier appeared more interested in sunning themselves than chewing. The Skyway fishing piers were a little more encouraging. With the advantage of being elevated on the structures, mid-size whitebait and some larger greenbacks could be easily seen flashing in the shadow line on the up-tide side of the incoming tide, particularly on the St. Pete side (north end). Though too, fishing has been slow there, pier operators report some sheepshead being caught with an occasional trout. With air temperature rising and water temp creeping back up with it, it’ll not take long to spark back up the bite in the bay’s and near shore waters of the gulf. Soon the bait will get bunched up, the mackerel will begin showing up to take advantage and not long after…. we’ll be tugging on kingfish.