Tampa Bay Fishing Report January 2019

Archived in the category: Articles, Fishing Reports, News
Posted by: captainwoody - Comments Off on Tampa Bay Fishing Report January 2019

With all the residential canals and inshore reefs, bay anglers are truly are blessed when it comes to fishing in the winter months and it seems you never have to run far to find what you are looking for. Fish seem to acclimate themselves to the lower tides and feed all day with little or no concern for weather. Fishing around the grass flats also begins heating up, with plenty of respectable sight fishing. Live baits like sardines are always helpful if you can still find and net a few, and the old standby live shrimp and of course artificial lures available in today’s arsenal of fishing tackle.

Redfish: January is perfect for reds to start moving into Tampa Bay’s shallow grass flats. Shallow water flats warm up a lot quicker, so when the sun is shining on a cold Florida morning, you can gamble that a broken bottom grass flats is packed with redfish looking for food and warmth. Notorious for foraging in less than a couple feet of water, redfish are on the flats in shallow water looking for sandworms, mud minnows, shrimp and crabs, as well as protection from the ever-present packs of porpoise cruising Tampa Bay.

During the winter redfish usually, gather together in large groups. This gives us some benefits as they school together in the clear winter water. First, we can keep an eye out for moving and feeding redfish, especially as they move around in the shallow water. Next, we can continue to target areas we’ve been catching them or better yet, in the coming months we can move around to new locations searching out new schools because now we know how to find them. I’ve mentioned it many times before and will do so again. Find a big school of mullet and you’ll usually find redfish.

We already know what they are eating, but what about something different? Live and dead baits are great, but you can catch plenty of fish on jigs and jerk baits, for the simple reason you can cover more water in a shorter time.

So as a longtime proponent of scented lures going back to my bass angling Redfish tournament days. Over the years I’ve fished, caught and believe redfish actively respond more aggressively to scented lures especially in the winter. My color preferences are a new penny, camo, and white. I started out with the soft jerk style baits like Exude then Gulp and now Fishbites are doing a great job. There is a lot of debate about scented lures, but many anglers find them very effective and worth every penny. And for whatever reason, redfish seem to respond well to smelly baits.

Snook: If snook is your species of choice, the bay and its tributaries offer plenty of excellent fishing. There are so many areas holding this prize species it’s hard to take the time to find new ones. As the water temperature drops snook begin to move to deeper water and areas holding structure. Canals with docks are always great places to find winter snook, redfish, and trout. Remember, anything in the water that’s warmed by the sun up is a good place to fish in the winter. But it’s always nice to concentrate on learning new unlikely fishing areas instead of continually pounding the same old spots, so scout around and find some new fishing areas.

Trout: Sea Trout fishing has been good this year especially around deeper rocky bottoms and lush grass flats with sandy potholes. Windy overcast days, incoming water is a favorite time for trout anglers. Freelined or under a popping cork live greenbacks, shrimp and artificial lures will do the trick. Live baits are great, but you can catch plenty of fish on jigs and jerk baits. My color preferences are Fishbites new penny, camo, and white. Early morning grass flats with a MirrOlure’s Top Dog Jr. using a steady walk-the-dog action will produce some awesome fishing including the occasional snook or redfish.

Snapper, Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel, Kingfish, Bluefish: Snapper fishing along with sheepshead fishing should also begin improving. Two of the best-eating fish in the bay Snapper and Sheepshead are often overlooked in lieu of the more popular snook and redfish. But now that snook and reds are catch and release only you might grab a few shrimp and try your hand a something just as much fun so don’t overlook the snapper and sheepshead. Hopefully, with the colder weather, the RT will be gone from the beaches to the cold fronts can lower the nearshore water temps and bring us a good Spanish Mackerel and Kingfish bite. Tons of bait should bring the Kings and Spanish mackerel within a mile or so of the beach and inside Tampa Bay.

Give Him a Call & Go Fishing Cellular/Text: 813-477-3814.

Visit the Website www.captainwoodygore.com Email fishing@captainwoodygore.com

Captain Woody Gore’s Guide Service is the area’s top outdoor fishing guide service. He’s guided and fished the Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Bradenton, and Sarasota areas for over fifty years and offers world class fishing adventures and a lifetime of memories.

Single or Multi-boat Group Charters are all the same. With years of organizational experience and access to the areas most experienced captains, I can arrange and coordinate any outing or tournament. With access to a fully staffed guide service we can accommodate any size Group or Tournament; just tell me what you need and it’s done.