by CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
WHAT'S NEXT: Following rough weather, you'll need to find clean water to catch fish. Inside Tampa Bay, look for back water coves that have thick trees that could block the wind. Most of these areas are on the east side of the bay. Close to the passes, the water will be dirty due to the incoming tide pulling murky water from the Gulf. Areas that have thick grass on the flats that filter the sand will be the first to have clean water.
When the waters calm, a good place to target are the artificial reefs inside the bay. Fish tend to move to large structure when the bay gets rough.
TIP: After a storm as strong as this one, there will be large parts of docks and debris floating just under the surface. It's best to keep your boat speed slow while searching the waters for debris. Over the years, most of the items I ran into came right after a storm.
OFFSHORE: Head west until you find clean water. Most of the fish will be around the artificial reefs and the larger ledges. Try the well-known ledges that are 6 to 12 feet high. These over-fished areas will hold good numbers of fish for a few days after the storm.