Relief may finally be in sight from the cold snap, at least for a week anyways. The water temperature is still pretty cold and may take most of the week to warm back up. Shrimp or artificial bait will work best. The 1st half of the week we have more water movement in the mornings. That is when you are going to have your best bite.
With extremely low winter tides that can limit where you fish, you may want to target some inshore reefs and rock piles. Tampa Bay is loaded with them. You can visit and it has a list of artificial reefs in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. Common catches on these reefs this time of year are sheepshead and silver trout.
Catching 5- to 8-pound sheepshead this time of year is not uncommon. Tearing a live shrimp and just using half has produced the best results. A 15-pound leader with a No. 1 or No. 2 hook with a small split shot should do the job. Sheepshead are notorious for stealing your bait. Just make sure to keep your line tight and as soon as you feel that first bump, set the hook. The silver trout are very abundant and catching a 50 fish is not hard to do.
The Speckled Trout bite has moved to deeper water with all the cold weather. Find a deep grass flat in about 6 feet of water. I like to drift the flat working a live shrimp or artificial soft plastic. Once you hookup, anchor down and work that area. If the bite quits, start drifting again.
CapMel Staff
CapMel Staff

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