Capt. Ric’s Reel Simple Fishing Report

Jan 30, 14 Capt. Ric’s Reel Simple Fishing Report

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and are ready for a great 2014. This is the time of year that fishing trips occasionally come with hero or zero results.
March thru December are more stable months leaving January and February more difficult. That is not to say that we do not catch fish during this time, we do and often have pretty good days.
The driver in fishing this time of year is the wether fronts that move down from the north that can result in drastic changes in water temperature and also drive the barometer up.
This is the time of year that you can tell who the die hards of the fishing world are. It sounds as if I am trying to paint a negative picture of fishing in Tampa Bay this time of year but that’s not the intention. The Tampa Bay area has some great fishing this time of year. The point is, that if you go out and have a challenging day on the water don’t beat yourself up.
If you count my childhood I have been fishing Tampa Bay for over 40 years and believe I have a pretty good feel for it and one thing is for sure, it can be a struggle. I’m not the guy that’s gonna tell you its all peaches and cream to sell you a fishing trip. I’m a big golfer so I will put it in golfing terms. Its easier to hit a good shot when the conditions are in your favor.
The thing about this time of year that is great is that we have a few species of fish that are easier to target than in the warmer months. Sheephead, cobia and bonnethead sharks are the species I am talking about. Both of these can be caught here year round but these are good targets for this time of year. Sheephead spawn this time of year so we get the big breeders moving in. This is not the same species as the sheephead up north. Our sheephead are actually very good to eat and offer a challenging fight while hooked.

Pat Harmon and his grandson Ethan with a Bonnethead Shark on a recent fishing trip in Tampa Bay. Ethan got this trip as a reward for good grades in school. Hats off to Pat.

We have caught a few cobia this week but have not gotten a keeper yet. Look for the bonnetheads in shallow water, especially on the days that offer plenty of sunshine. These are awesome to catch when using light tackle. We have been catching redfish as well but a majority of the reds we have caught in the past month have been under the slot size.
The trout bite has been pretty good in certain areas of the Bay while it has been terrible in others. There are a few areas that seem to always have bigger trout this time of year. The best thing to keep in mind as an angler right now is that it will benefit you to do everything at a slower pace than when the water temps are warmer. Fish will move slower in colder water. Maybe this will help and be useful information. Until next time, good luck and be safe on the water. Remember: don’t let your kid be the one that got away, take them fishing.
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