By Michael Murphy
Fishing in Tampa has been getting hot with the temps beginning to drop. The tides are beginning to get lower at the same time. This affords the opportunity to locate those deeper holes during the low tides, and it becomes shooting fish in a barrel.
Artificial baits have been working very well, including soft plastics, suspended hard plastics and topwater plastics. Work them over the deeper pockets of water where visible tidal flows are evident. Bait has been getting a little tricky with the weather change and some slow tide days. With the reduced bait, don’t be afraid to break out the artificial baits and catch those few golden hours in the morning before the temps really fall.
When the water becomes really chilly, the fish may become a little shut-mouthed and hard to get a bite from. Those days, you want to find areas with darker bottoms and a southern exposure as to absorb and retain that radiant heat from the sun as the day progresses.
Snook bite remains hot and consistent on the bars and cuts in mangrove areas. They may start to transition into more of the backwater flats and residential canals as the water temps fall.
Redfish have been on the prowl but not so much in big schools like the months prior. Trout bite is great on the artificial baits, and we will begin to get into the season where live shrimp will be the go-to bait of choice for all the target species. Locate some of the remaining grass flats and drop-offs in the mangrove areas and residential canals. Grouper will close at the end of the month and snook are already closed for the season, so keep that in mind when making your fishing adventure plans. They can still be caught in good numbers, but all catch and release.