February 3rd, 2010
Sunday’s trip was scheduled to start late morning to trying and stay warm as the temperatures had dropped from the day prior. With time to spare I ran to the Skyway Bridge looking for white bait. I was pleasantly surprised as my first toss of the cast net in weeks resulted in a nice haul of white baits. We would not be doing any chumming today so we did not need many baits. Along with the white baits I had live shrimp in the forward live well.
Our very first stop was the same canal we scored on the day prior. It’s a deep wide open area where 4 canals merge with good water flow and plenty of oyster bars. With both live shrimp and white baits in the water the wait for action would not be long. I knew by the fight we had a redfish on, several bulldog type runs and a skinny 22” redfish was landed.
We took a combination of trout, flounder and redfish over the next hour. Both shrimp and white baits worked on trout the redfish all took white baits. Next stop we moved to an area I scored large sheepshead just prior to the recent freeze. Small 1” pieces of shrimp threaded on a size 1 hook with a 1/16oz sliding sinker completed the rigging. It was slow going with only several smaller sheepsheads taken along with a small grouper.
With an incoming tide we moved to a large flat near the Skyway Bridge and drifted for trout throwing DOA CAL 4” jerk baits. We worked the drop off and potholes. When you get a fish lower the Power Pole and work the area as trout tend to be in groups. The bite for 14-17” trout was steady and the biggest surprise was catching several Bluefish.
Most of the larger 20” plus sea trout in lower Tampa Bay hang out in very shallow water. It’s not unusually to see single large trout in 10-20’ of water. On calm, sunny days I can spot large trout from up in my tower. Overcast, windy days as of late have made sight fishing impossible.
Capt. Steven Markovich
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