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It was a race against time this morning; we knew a cold front would arrive around 1pm. With everyone in rain gear we set out to gather bait at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The nasty chop on the water made maneuvering the boat against the bridge a challenge. I made a good shot with the net, now I am hoping the bait is still holding from yesterday. I knew by the weight of the net and vibration that I scored. For today trip shrimp would have been another good option for those not wanting to toss a cast net.

We are fishing areas in Ft. Desoto and Tierra Verde today. I focused on deep canals looking for warmer water and staying out of the wind. Fluorocarbon leader of 25 pound finished with a 1/0 circle hook with a split shot crimped right at the hook was the terminal tackle for the day.

Luckily we found trout, snapper, grouper and ladyfish willing to chew. Funny how catching fish makes a rainy, windy day feel not so bad. I made 3 stops all held fish. The smaller baits worked best and getting on the bottom was a must. Baits tossed into the middle of the canal found trout and Ladyfish and 3 spine snook (aka Catfish). Baits up against pilings held grouper, snapper and sheep head. While we saw sheep head they typical prefer a small piece of shrimp. We got cut off and hung up several times by larger grouper. Grouper immediately turn to get back into the structure they were holding on, it’s imperative you not let the fish run back to the bottom. Lots of action and fun all within minutes of the Marina.

Another good cold water trout tactic is using soft plastic baits such as the DOA Glo Shrimp. White, root beer and silver all work for Captain Steven. Keeping the jig near the bottom and retrieved slowly will result in more time fishing in the strike zone... Spotted sea trout almost always hit the jig when it falls watch your line closely. Don’t set the hook hard as trout have soft mouths.

Captain Steven

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