What’s happenin’ in the upper stretches of Tampa Bay? If you can go, you can have some great success. If you can go, you could have a tough time. It is just that time of year.
Tough times for anglers all over the region. Another tough set of January weather conditions. The wind has been dreadful a lot of the time. And just as I thought, the worse it got for all of us living here, the more opportunities at the top-of-the-Bay. In fact, the only strong reports have been in the upper stretches of the Bay. Lots of fish have pushed back to the most distant areas from the mouth of Tampa Bay to try to survive in a dismal weather pattern with cold fronts every few days keeping air temperatures low and bringing water temperatures down.
Redfish, trout, sheepshead and black drum: In the canals, under docks, eating whatever you can present to them that is either stationary or barely moving, this is something that has been done successfully and may continue to be a good choice UNLESS we hit a major warming trend that brings these fish out of their cold weather habits. There is a good forecast starting tomorrow and extending six days: But how much is needed to get things activated for catching fish on lures like normal?
The treasure lies in the adjustments. The people using lures will still be successful if they really pay attention to technique. Lures worked rapidly will get nothing. It is good in the upper Bay and it is going to get better. I expect great opportunities through June. But I expect a hotbed of action with just a little bit of Spring winning out over this dreadful weather we have had since late December.
Throw lures around oyster bars. In the dead of winter, the best fish are around the oysters north of the Gandy Bridge. Go deeper at lower tides. But work the oyster bars when the tide is up.
See ya the next time around. As always: Be careful out there!
Stay alert and make a difference:
Keep an eye out and make the phone calls. Illegal nets found in Upper Tampa Bay have been confiscated thanks to the tips from citizens. Working with the field staff, I personally know that they have a great response rate on the calls I make. Too many people do not make the attempt because they did not get a response in the past. Trust me, they do the best they can and they do respond as quickly as possible.
The great work of FWC officers to target felony netters and keep an eye on other recreational offenders has led to better fishing for us all. Their continued efforts to catch felony netters are making the south shore region return as a great fishery again. But help them out: Keep your eyes peeled for illegal activity and make a call if you see poaching, 888-404-FWCC (3922). Your tips will help make cases and you could be eligible for a reward. If you see a poacher: Make a phone call.