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Weather or not

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On: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 9:33AM | By: Captain Sergio Atanes

Frank Figueroa

February can go two ways, depending on the weather, so, based on the last few months, let’s start with an above average temperature scenario. The Snook will be along mangroves that have easy access to deep water in case the water temperature starts to drop. Big Island Flats at the northwest end of Howard Frankland bridge has a deep water channel between Big Island and the shore line. Although the charts show it as a 1 to 2 feet of depth, in truth the channel is over 10 feet deep with an old barge lying on its side, an absolute favorite of Redfish, Snook, Trout, and Mangrove Snapper.

The old barge sitting along the shore line can be seen only during the winter months with the extra low tides. It’s a great hang out for Sheepshead, Mangrove Snapper, and Redfish with a falling tide.

The radio towers on the northwest side of Gandy Bridge is another hot spot with plenty of rocks and a deep water canal within easy reach in case of a quick cold front. This is a great area for shore-bound anglers; it stretches west from the end of the bridge to where the mangroves start, and has plenty of deep water which is a favorite of Snook, Trout, Jacks, and Redfish.

Weedon Island will hold Redfish and Snook around the oyster bar at the entrance to Christmas Pass. Just outside in the deeper water flats in 3 to 4 feet, you can find some above average Trout and Flounder.

If the weather is cold, everything changes and you need to look for the fish around deep water canals and hot water runoff around the power plants and rivers.

Silver Trout will more than keep the average angler active, so look for them in the main channel going into the St. Petersburg power plant or the south side of Port Tampa channel in about 30 to 40 feet. The big female Sheepshead will have moved in from the gulf to spawn in the deeper waters. I have the best results when water temperature hits below 65 degrees, which may not be good for Snook but great for the big Sheepshead.

Little Manatee River is a gold mine when the temperature drops below 65 degrees. Large schools of Jacks will roam the river from the entrance all the way to the railroad bridge. Snook and Redfish will hang around the points waiting for the bait getting pushed by the tides. Look for pot holes, an area where the tide has made a trench. I found some areas that drop as much as 8 feet, and guess where the fish are staging—at the bottom of the pot holes.

Don’t worry about trying to catch the white bait (greenback sardines), as shrimp is the best winter bait, bar none. They will out-fish live sardines during the cold month’s period.

So after all has been said, it’s weather or not; where to fish depends on the weather and water temperature.

Low winter tides and wind makes a perfect combination to fish the many canals in the Apollo Beach area. As the sun hits the docks and seawalls, it radiates the heat into the water, acting as a radiant heater drawing bait fish to it which creates a food court for hungry Redfish, Sheepshead, Snook, and Mangrove Snapper

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