Tampa Bay is the real “winter wonderland”! Seriously… we don’t need snow to have a great time down here. We have saltwater full of fish and December is an amazing time to fish for them.
Our primary targets this month will be redfish, trout, and sheephead. All three are great fighters and all three make amazing table fare. And, the cool thing is, we can catch all three of these species in the same area at times.
Redfish are one of our species of fish that thrive in cooler water situations. They will push up in the shallows chasing crabs, shrimp, and baitfish in the wintertime whereas they will sometimes avoid these super shallow areas in the summer so they can avoid the heat.
It’s a ton of fun working shallow shorelines, watching redfish get as shallow as they can, and push wakes whiles searching for food. It’s like watching little red torpeedos glide down the shoreline. Casting to them and hooking up is something you’ll never forget. Great strike, amazing runs, and incredible to eat.
Wintertime is one of my favorite times to target speckled sea trout in the Tampa Bay area. We get extreme tide changes during the winter than can really concentrate the fish on low tide. Though an average size trout doesn’t put up the same type of fight as an average-sized redfish, big ones can fool you into thinking that they are a redfish while you’re fighting them — trout over 20″ will often pull drag off the reel just like a redfish. And, you cannot beat fried trout for dinner!
They may be the “ugly” stepchild of the fish on this list, but they are good fighters and taste amazing — probably the best tasting fish on this list. They are primarily crustation eaters so when we target sheephead, we usually use shrimp. It takes a little practice to figure out when to set the hook on them, but once you’ve done it successfully a few times, you’ll get the hang of it and be filling the cooler for your next fish fry.
If you have the wintertime blues… I have the cure for you. Head down to Tampa Bay, Florida, hop on my boat, go fishing with me and all your blues will disappear. Make sure to contact me about my Christmas special for gift certificates. And, if you just wanna call and talk fishing, give me a ring!