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The Bite In The Bay February Forecast

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On: Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 11:04AM | By: Captain Woody Gore

Snook: Fishing is one of those on then off again things in the cooler months; it also depends on the bait situation. Snook do seem to be making a strong recovery, but there is still no reason to open a season on them until we have some decent fishable numbers. The average size being caught is small, but if the season remains closed the larger fish will come. If you can get live baits you’re ahead of the game. Greenbacks off the flats usually run smaller during the cooler months, so downsize your circle hooks and leader. As temperatures drop, look for deep water canals, rivers, creeks with deep muddy-bottoms.

Redfish: The algaes die and the waters clear as cooler weather triggers good site fishing. Low tides and clear water make sight fishing Reds a shallow water anglers dream. We’re catching reds in mullet schools using cut and live bait and also artificial lures. Expect some exciting strikes when pitching soft plastics or top waters around the mangroves on high in coming tides. Redfish are often more sporadic on their movement and patterns, so it’s sometimes hard to rate the health of the population.

Spotted Sea Trout: Incoming or outgoing tides and a top water lure produce awesome strikes on a calm early morning flat. The old standby live shrimp under a popping cork always results in fish. The Trout population is strong and we have been landing some large trout. It really seems like there is a lot more Trout around since the net ban. The 20-plus inch fish seem to be more plentiful than I can ever remember. Don’t forget to check out grass and rock bottoms with some artificial jerk baits. Many times you’d be surprised at the results.

Grouper and Snapper: Offshore, with the tighter regulations, Grouper and Snapper fishing are very good. Going out and
getting a lot of bottom fish action never seems to be a problem. The inshore Grouper bite is as hot as the offshore. However, you cannot keep any fish caught after October 31. Recreational Gag Grouper season is open only from July 1 through October 31. Lots of fish near shore, and Tampa Bay fish coming up with a few really nice ones, but they’ve got to go back. Some choice docks are also holding nice fish. The Skyway Bridge is also producing some good sized Snapper and these fish are real fighters.

Cobia: The cooler temps should push the fish into or near warm water runoffs of local power plants. Be certain to adhere to the restricted areas. Don't forget to check the shallow water beach edges adjacent to the runoffs they seems to hold some nice fish. Also check offshore for schools cruising south.

Sheepshead: Sheepshead is found around bridges, oyster bars and deep water docks. Try using green mussels, fiddlers (if you can find them), small black rock crabs, shrimp or oysters and scrape the pilings to get them going.


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