So far this December, we have already seen some significant changes in the (W)ind, (W)ater temperature, and (W)hite bait. The North winds have brought our water temperatures down into the 50’s in some areas at times. Luckily, we have had plenty of sunny days that bring it back up throughout the daylight hours. This has given the fish time to acclimate to the changes in temperature and still want to feed when they are happy. Over the last few weeks, we have transitioned ourtrips to spending more time deep in the back country and winter time haunts for Snook and Redfish. These are the areas that will continue to produce a quality bite through the cold fronts ahead.
Keep an eye on the winds. Pay attention to the strength and direction in relation to where you will be fishing. This is the time of year where your tide charts will seem inaccurate. Remember, they are only forecasts based on certain conditions and for the most part pretty good. A heavy North wind for a few days will disrupt several tide cycles even days after it has passed.
Moving forward, bait will become more of a challenge as average water temperatures descend. The stronger the North winds blow; the sooner flats will become sandbars. This combine with cold water will push any remaining bait in the shallows to the depths of the bay. Bridges, range markers, and even local reefs will become a primary source of bait over the next few months. There will be days where it is just not feasible to trek into the bay to get it. Don’t risk your safety on the nasty days ahead. It’s just not worth it. Live shrimp or artificials will produce a successful trip going forward. There are many guides throughout the bay that run trips on shrimp exclusively for the next couple months. You just have to adjust your approach, technique, and potentially the targeted species. Keep in mind that in most areas we are fishing, the bait has left. The fish are adapting to a shrimp, crab, mollusk, pattern by nature. There will be times when having live bait will be ineffective.
Last but not least, and one of my favorites. Plan for a later departure. Most of our trips this time of year we pickup between 9a-10a. This gives us plenty of time to search and acquire bait but most importantly, let it warm up. You will find that first thing in the morning the fish will be sluggish. Plan your trips around the warmest parts of the day. More than likely, that’s when the fish will chew!
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Suzuki Repower and Mastry Engine Center.
Stay dialed-in to what’s biting in Tampa Bay! Capt. Travis Yaeckel, Capt. Jason Prieto, Capt. Ric Liles, & Danny Guarino bring you the full report each week. Listen every Sunday Morning 8-9am on 1040AM ESPN Sports Talk Radio. Watch LIVE on Facebook and YouTube every Wednesday 6-7pm. Or download the podomatic app on your phone or tablet and listen anytime. Search “ Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio Show “ to follow us and find current and past shows.
Read some of Capt. Travis’ other recent posts for Old Salt including: The Big Girls Are Biting