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Captain Mike Murphy of Fish This Inshore Charters provides expert Tampa Fishing Charters. Retired Ecologist and Syndicated author of the Tampa Bay Fishing Charters Report, Capt Mike Murphy has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and has also been a featured speaker at area outdoor expos. If you are looking for an expert Tampa Bay Fishing Charters captain, Fish This!
The cold weather is on us now and with that comes the season of extremely low tides. This creates a great opportunity to locate great numbers of fish as they retreat to deep holes in the backcountry waters and creeks. Residential canals will hold good numbers of trout, snook and sheepshead. Find waters with good mud flats for better results as these areas tend to warm up faster and hold the heat to keep these fish active. Deep water docks will also be your go to places during these cold front periods after they pass through. Observing the exposed sand and grass flats will aid you in your fishing during the normal tidal periods of the rest of the year. Note the remaining areas that still contain water and mark them. These will be places to go when spring comes. If wadding is possible, this is a great time to hit those isolated water bodies as the fish will be concentrated in the areas. Be very stealthy in your approach and throw shrimp or plastic jigs in these areas. Break out those waders and find the holes and channels.
Shrimp will be the go to bait of choice, but artificial baits work great this time of year as well. Shrimp hooked on a 1/0 circle hook should yield good numbers of trout and redfish this time of year. Trout, reds and snook are holding well in the residential canals around docks and centers of the channels when the tides are low. You can rig them on a jig head by threading them on backwards with the head hanging loose. Pull the tail of and remove some of the shell to make them a little easier for the fish to eat and smell. You can also hook the on a 1/0 hook through the tail and add a small split shot weight to get them down to the fish. A popping cork is always fun for trout and works great on the shallow flats. Hook a shrimp or even a DOA plastic shrimp for great success.
Sheepshead will be coming in force as the water temps drop. They will push the snapper out due to competition for spawning locations. February is prime time for larger of these tasty treats but even now there are some smaller ones out there on the reefs and on the inshore docks to fill your cooler. These fish will readily take a shrimp but the favorite bait of choice is the fiddler crab. Use a #1 hood with just enough weight to keep it steady on the bottom on 15# test fluorocarbon leader. You can place the weight right next to the hook or you can use a typical bottom rig where the weight is at the terminal end and the hook is suspended up 6 – 8 inches above the weight. Keep a tight line as these convicts are great bait stealers.
Fly fishing is great this time of year as the target fish are isolated and the waters are very low. A green or blue deceiver is a great go to bait on a 9-weight setup and don’t neglect some of the topwater popping lures. Trout will readily hit these since they are a very audible bait selection. Cast to the potholes and retrieve quickly. Redfish tend to like a little blue color in their bait selection so keep that in mind when you’re purchasing them or tying your own.
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Please give me a call or text at 813-459-2521 to book your Apollo Beach fishing charter today. You can also use the contact form to send me an email. I will return your call or email as soon as possible. If I am on the water a text message is usually the quickest way to reach me.