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Daily fishing report
By DOUG HEMMER
Published January 21, 2005
Trout and sheepshead are reliable game fish to target during January and February in the lower parts of Tampa Bay. Here is what's going on in different parts of the bay:
Lori Deaton fishes the east side of Tampa Bay from Apollo Beach to the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Most of her trips have targeted trout. She takes the time to locate whitebait in the deepest parts of the bay. This helps clients with minimal casting skills catch trout of 15 to 20 inches. There are penalty of snook far back in the canals that normally won't take a bait. If the client wants to take a shot at a linesider, Deaton will take the time.
In the upper parts of the bay, Rodney Martin has found small groups of tarpon and cobia around the power plants, redfish and trout at Weedon Island and snook in the residential canals. Baits of choice are large shrimp and jigs. When clients want to catch a lot of trout, he'll head to the deeper flats of Dunedin. Most trips there produced 60 to 80 trout, 15 to 25 inches.
One of the few guides targeting reds is Rob Gorda. He has been catching large trout and redfish where the water is a foot deep. Most are being caught on green or pearl jerk baits.
Dave Pomerleau will travel for hours to night areas loaded with cooperative snook. Using live shrimp for bait, he's catching more than 40 per trip. The action has been red hot because of the strong outgoing tide and the cool air that help keep these areas free of angler pressure.
Offshore fishing has been outstanding, weather permitting. Steve Papen likes to start at 110 feet and work his way out. Trips before the winds picked up produced gags and reds of 10 to 20 pounds. All were caught on live pinfish. Good numbers of mangrove snapper were caught on smaller pinfish. Most were keepers up to 6 pounds. From large wrecks to small breaks, every stop held good numbers of amberjacks.
There are still reports of breeder redfish slamming baits in 90 feet. Most are being caught by anglers seeking grouper. These oversized redfish are running 25 to 40 pounds and should be released quickly. In case you do catch a smaller one, remember the limit is one redfish per angler and it must be more than 18 inches and not longer than 27.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.