When cold fronts roll through Florida, the fishing can get tricky. The cold weather and decline in water temperature makes the fish lethargic and often not want to bite. However, the fishing in Tampa Bay, Fl has been fairly steady throughout the last month.
Despite multiple cold fronts throughout the last several weeks, the sheepshead bite has been the most consistent. Shrimp and fiddler crabs fished around rocks, seawalls, docks, bridges, and mangroves have been the best bet. A good number of seatrout and redfish, along with some ladyfish and jacks, are also being caught in warmer backwater areas such as canals, coves, and protected harbors. Live shrimp are the best option right now with the cooler water temperatures.
The mangrove snapper bite has also been decent. Fishing with live or frozen shrimp or cut bait around rock piles, docks, mangroves, bridges, and inshore reefs has been the best way to fire up mangrove snapper.
If you’re planning to do some fishing this month in the Tampa Bay area, keep the weather and water temperature in mind. When it’s cold and windy and water temperatures drop quickly, try to find areas where the water might be a few degrees warmer, such as shorelines protected from the strong north winds. Also, sunny banks, mud flats, rockpiles, docks, and backwater areas out of the current are all places that will be little warmer and are likely to hold fish in the chilly water. As we move closer to spring and the weather warms, fish will start to get more active, and the bite should continue to improve.