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Sunday started cool as there were no clouds to hold the heat in. I had barely left the marina when I stopped and put on my wind pants and jacket. The run to get bait was brisk telling me winter is just around the corner. The water temperature at 6:30 this morning was 63 degrees but the bait had not moved it was still thick on the grass flats near Ft. Desoto in lower Tampa Bay. White baits from small to jumbo were all mixed together; I recommend ¼” mesh net as to not have a mess with gilled baits.

A quick 15 minute run had us on our first stop along the eastern shoreline above the Skyway Bridge. First bait in was nailed immediately by a rambunctious 24” snook. Next hookup was a flounder then another flounder. I can’t recall catching so many flounder as I have the last 2 weeks. Several more small snook were taken before we moved on. This area has a sandy bottom that drops off quickly along the mangroves.

Looking for warmer water I ran to the Little Manatee River. The water temperature was the same at 63 degrees and the results showed it. No so much as a nibble on this time tested spot. With an incoming tide and low water I ran back to the deeper edges (6-10’) off the grass flats and got right back in the action. First taker was a black sea bass, then a grouper then a mackerel. Plenty of action kept rods bent but no redfish or snook. As with the flounder the grouper seem to be more plentiful than any time I can recall.

Pinellas Point was our last stop and this popular winter area showed once again why Capt. Steven fishes this area often. First hit was exciting and resulted in a bonnet head shark that would go 40”. Mackerel to25” were plentiful as were Ladyfish. Jacks quickly joined the party which is always fun on light tackle.

Remember to dress in layers as its much cooler on the water. Factor in the made wind as we skate along at 35 mph and you quickly chill if not prepared. Jackets and pants with Gortex are both wind and waterproof and excellent for these days.

Capt. Steven.

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