A recent charter brought in some nice fish on the line for this resident.

The weather is changing, and the fish and their habitat are also changing. The grass has receded, and the bait has shifted to the towers. Most of the target species we look for have shifted into the backwater areas and residential canals to escape the colder water temps. Our offshore species have moved into the 40 ft. ranges and are easier to get to on the calmer days.

Sheepshead should be moving into the reef areas inside Tampa Bay and will readily eat a live or dead shrimp. Fiddler crabs are ideal but are sometimes hard to come by. Trout, redfish and snook will be in the seasonal haunts of canals and backwater areas. Artificial baits can be key to fishing this time of year. The waters get very low and the fish will school up in the deeper water bend areas. Try a little flyfishing in these areas also. A green deceiver fly on an 8-weight setup is a great approach plan.

Nearshore fishing, with the fish moving in closer with the season, should be on fire. Do some homework and locate the drops and ledges on Google Maps, the Navionics app or something similar. Pinfish, shrimp or greenies will be spot-on for these fish. Grouper are closed for the year, and coming months after, but there are many other types of fish to hook up with in the gulf. Snapper, grunts, porgy, hogfish and many others will avail themselves for the kitchen table. Inshore setups with a half to 1-ounce weight and a 1/0 hook will be the best bets.

Be wary of the low and falling tides this time of year in the inshore waters. You may get stuck for a while if you fail to pay attention.

Previous articleFlorida Wildlife With Ali: Killdeer
Next articleEye On Business; Bloomingdale/FishHawk, December 2023