Tampa Bay Fishing report – December 2014

By December 28, 2014Fishing Reports

December is here and it’s all about the water temperature! No need to be up at the crack of dawn either, the warmer water temps that trigger the bite happen later in the day. I’m starting many of my trips now at 9 o’clock in the morning so we can sight fish during prime time when the fish move up the flats to sun & feed.

This is also the time of year our larger trout move shallow and we see lots of tailing action by redfish rooting around for crunchy crustaceans. With not as many baitfish around the flats, the crustacean pattern is definitely what anglers should focus on in regards to lure profiles.

Here’s some of the action you can expect in the shallows:

Trout- The big trout (22″ to 28″) are moving up into shallow pot holes soaking up the sun and blasting the occasional finger mullet that happens by now and then. This is the time to utilize those Paul Brown Lures… the Lil’ Devil and Original Floater will impress you with their effectiveness on the trophy specks. Other lures that work well are the Zman Fattyz, Jerkshadz and Deizel Minnowz all rigged with a keel weighted rigging hook. Glide these baits over the shallow grass very slowly and you should get the attention of some “Gator Trout” this month.

Redfish- Sight fishing these copper bruisers is on fire during the negative tides! I prefer throwing Zman Crabz and Shrimpz to these redfish who wave their tails in the shallows. Look for productive flats with lots of wading bird activity and you’ll be on the right path. If you can locate some mudding mullet, it’s almost a guarantee that the redfish will be more receptive to your presentations because they’re pretty spooky in the clear water! Colors that work best are earthy Browns and greens this time of year…

Flounder- One of the nice by-products of combing through sandy pot holes on the flats for redfish and trout, is it often produces lots of Flounder in December and January. Lures that are effective on the Flounder vary but the new BTB Jig (looks like a bucktail) from Z-Man and the Z-Man Shrimpz (Pearl White) on a 1/4 oz. jig head… work well. Drag or slow hop these jigs and you’ll catch plenty! A dab of Pro-Cure Shrimp scent does wonders too.

Snook- You definitely have to get into the backcountry that has some deeper creeks to catch some snook now. They do come out and sit on some shallow mud flats later in the day and can be caught on the warming trends on dark colored jigs like the Zman Minnows or BTB Jig… gotta move’m slow though. Keep an eye on your water temps and look for the snook to fire up when you get water temps closer to 70 degrees in the backcountry!

Here’s a quick reminder, I offer gift certificates for my charters over the holidays and it’s the perfect Christmas gift for that avid angler in your family! Just email me at flatsclasscharters@gmail.com, I can accept credit cards or checks!

Until next time, keep them rods bent!

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