By CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
WHAT'S HOT: The best action in lower Tampa Bay continues to be trout and bluefish. The first thing you want to do before fishing is to keep track of the tide and weather. Extreme low tides will concentrate the trout and bluefish along the drop-off of a flat. The blues and smaller trout will be in the 3- to 4-ft range. The larger trout want to stay closer to the drop-off. They like to hang in the 1- to 2-ft range to avoid being stalked by dolphin.
You won't find large numbers of trout in the shallow water, but you will have a shot at one that's over 20 inches. Weather is a big factor when it comes to tides. Strong winds out of the north will push more water out of the bay and turn a normal low tide into one that's extreme. South winds will make a low tide higher than the tide chart predicts.
TACKLE: Topwater plugs, jigs, and corked shrimp are hot baits in the lower part of the bay. Work the plugs along the drop early in the day. When the action slows, switch to a jig or shrimp and work the water that's 3 to 4 feet deep. Productive jig colors are strawberry, motor oil and white. When the water is clear, I'll use motor oil. The rest of the time I only use strawberry. Small jigs work well, but you might find the larger slugger jigs and jerk baits will catch the bigger fish. Keeping your line test under 15-lbs and your leaders under 25 will increase the strike ratio.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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