Numerous customers over the last few weeks expressed an interest in catching a fish dinner so, with the primary three inshore species closed, trips were run to near shore hard bottom when weather allowed. Results were quite positive. Mangrove snapper were larger and more abundant than expected and, although limits were not secured every day, enough fish were always caught to provide an excellent fish dinner. These snapper, when pursued close to shore, are quite wary due to repeated exposure to fishermen’s efforts.  As a result, presentations must be very natural and patience is required. Heading out with a variety of bait choices is recommended as well, as on some trips, one type of presentation with a particular bait seems to out fish all other approaches.  Be prepared to work and experiment. Other fish will come to the boat as well, including the dependable grass grunt, which also makes for a good meal if enough larger fish are caught…and just about the time an angler gets settled in to catching these smaller species, a surprise gag grouper might make an appearance and wreak havoc on those using light tackle.
Back inside, the sea trout bite remains extremely dependable. Double and triple limit catches are more the norm than the exception, and these trout, which seemed to have slipped in size over the last month down to the 16-18 range, are once again showing up over 20 inches. Days with respectable tides are also productive for the redfish. Although many fish are smaller this time of year, a recent trip produced over 20 fish with numerous fish in the 25 inch range….very respectable for winter fish.  Cut baits, shrimp and small pinfish were all readily accepted by these fish. The best news is that March is around the corner and the great fishing switch is about to get flipped on.  Good luck and good fishing.

Captain Stewart Ames
GONE FISHING CHARTERS
P.O. Box 541
Crystal Beach, Florida 34681
727 421-5291
https://Tampa-Fishing-Charter.com