Tampa Bay, Bull redfish, Gator Trout,

Hello everyone!The past couple weeks have yielded excellent results for upper slot (18″-27″) redfish as well as oversized “bull reds”, “doormat” sized flounder, “gator” trout, and bluefish. The weather has finally cooled the gulf water temps down low enough to drive fish from deeper areas up onto shallow flats during the warmer parts of the day. It has also driven snook into warmer protected areas where they can be more easily targeted. From now through March is typically when the best sight fishing on the flats occurs due to crystal clear water, shorter grass, and loads of fish to target. Redfish have been starting to school up near large schools of mullet on shallow flats all over my area. A well placed live jumbo shrimp  nearly impossible to resist and is the most effective bait when the fish are a bit more spooky. Soft plastic jerk shads and especially gold spoons fished around schools of mullet took their share of redfish during the past couple weeks as well. Gold spoons cover tons of water and are the most effective lure Ive found for reds when they are scattered amongst mullet schools. Seeing a monster V-wake plowing towards your spoon before it gets wrecked by a bull redfish is a sight to behold. Gator trout to 27″ are also funneling onto the flats. Once the weather gets colder, even more of these trophies will pile into shallow protected areas where they can be easily sight-fished. It is not uncommon to see literally hundreds of giant trout up to 30″+ in a single cove and catching over thirty trout exceeding 20″ is a definite possibility. from now through march. These beasts take all kinds of artificial lures and soaking a jumbo shrimp in a pot hole isnt even fair some days. Large flounder have also pushed in from offshore and are blanketing sandy bottoms all around the bay. Bouncing a rootbeer colored jig on the bottom is a great way to catch these tasty scrappers. Deeper holes near flats and areas with structure on the bottom are holding loads of flatties. There are also schools of ravenous bluefish and ladyfish patrolling channel edges near flats with good current flow. The action can be fast and furious on these numerous and spunky fish. These are both great species to target if you want non-stop action and cooked properly, bluefish are tasty as well. We are coming into my favorite time of year to fish the super shallow water flats of tampa bay. Crystal clear water and lots of targets are the name of the game for the next few months and there are very few people out on the water. The best time to plan a trip is a few days after a cold front when the air/water temps begin to warm. This concentrates the fish into warmer protected areas on the flats where they can be easily targeted. until next time Tight lines and catch a memory