North Pinellas, Stewart Ames

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Quite quickly, temperatures went from unseasonably cold to unseasonably warm. In just a few short weeks, inshore water temps have moved almost 15 degrees and are currently closing in on the 70 degree mark. Logic would say that fishing must be improving, right? This is true to a point, but the change has not been immediate. After such a cold January, the expectation would be that, since so few people fished, there would be piles of big trout waiting for the first few lucky anglers to get after them. Although there have ceratinly been some good days since the warm up, there have been challenging days as well. BIg trout are out there but work has been required to consistently put together a respectable catch. Big shrimp and small pinfish fished under bobbers or free-lined have been the two best approaches considering the absence of whitebait. On that note however, whitebait has started to show back up and, based on the upcoming week’s forecast, should be quite catchable in a few days. Fishing these in the manner mentioned above will improve catch rates further.

As is usually the case in February, redfishing is getting better. The best winter tactic for these fish has generally been to cast split shotted baits around and under residential docks. This will yield fish but many on the smaller side. As the warmth returns, solos and small groups of larger fish will start to appear and, on a good day, a small school might even be located. Over the last week, a quality fish or two have been added to the mix of big seatrout. These returning redfish make for a more interesting trip and, as tides continue to improve over the next six weeks, more and more time will be spent chasing these bronze gamefish. Live pinfish have been a productive bait but, until the water gets a bit warmer, it’s alway good to have a few select shrimp in the live well as even reluctant redfish can rarely refuse one of these. Good luck and good fishing.

CapMel Staff
CapMel Staff

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