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Its was great to get back on the water Sunday after a week fishing the Pacific for Blue Marlin off <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Maui</st1:place>. Unlike Maui’s marlin fishing our Tampa Bay is greatly effected by weather, all my local Captain friends explained last week was very cold and rainy. That became very evident once on the water as the temperature had plunged to 55. Captain Randy of Start Me Up charters in Maui explained the water temperatures never change more than 8 degrees off the coast of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Hawaii</st1:State></st1:place> and the changes are slow to occur. To go from fishing 600-1200’ of water to 3-12’ is a big change!

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Reports from the Ft Desoto area were not very optimistic so we decided to run Sunday’s trip around <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Weedon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Islands</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. We focused on the deep holes off the power plant then docks and canal’s on the Southern end of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Weedon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Island</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. Armed with shrimp and an arsenal of soft plastic baits we were now ready to slay the trout.

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Our first stop was ok with numerous ladyfish hooked along with several trout in 15 minutes of fishing. Nothing spectacular but ok to start the day. I don’t often fish the 4<SUP>th</SUP> st area near the Howard Franklin Bridge but being nearby I thought it worth the short run as the tide was very low and there would be a good chance the trout could be stacked up in the deep channel leading in and out. We took only 2 small trout and decided to hit the deeper water near the power plant. Conditions were awesome, flat seas with lots of sun and the temperature on its way to 70. As a Professional Captain I stunk up the place with not so much as one hit on this stop! Enough is enough so I ran to one of my can’t miss winter trout holes. Upon arrival I was greeted with the lowest water level at this spot that I had ever encountered prior. Typically I have to anchor but was able to use my Power Pole to set up in place. We took a handful of trout with smaller than 15”s, shrimp and soft plastics worked equally. I spotted sheep’s head on the dock beside us and had one of the guys quickly drop a piece of shrimp just as a small sheepie was ready to grab it a much larger one darted out, inhaled the bait and wrapped the line around two pilings. We managed to land several sheep head with one weighing in at 4 pounds. Looking back I should have stayed put as the next 3 stops accounted for zero!

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The nice trout picture is of Jackie Otto of Betts fishing center, she took this nice keeper in St. Josephs sound off <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Clearwater</st1:place></st1:City>. Promising weather forecast this week should warm the water and heat up the action.

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Capt. Steven

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