Captain's Corner

By DAVE WALKER, Times Correspondent
Published January 24, 2008

January has a nasty habit of being frightfully windy and cold. Cold weather will bring out some hearty anglers. Those preferring a warmer alternative stayed in port the first part of the week. Adventurers who went out during the extreme weather caught plenty of fish.

What's hot: Redfish are on the outside of the grass flats in upper Tampa Bay. The area is notoriously shallow during normal conditions. Stir in a stout northerly wind, and it looks like a desert. When the tide is low, or the water has been blown south, the reds will bunch up on the flats. The outer edge of these areas are sometimes hundreds of yards offshore. Clusters of redfish have been hanging out in the dips.

Tactics: Kayaks or other small portable vessels are exceptional for locating fish trapped on the flats. The fish are usually skittish and should be approached quietly. Never cast into the middle of the school.

Tackle: Soft plastic jigs work are a great choice this time of year. Time tested colors such as "root beer" or dark green, have been the most productive. Redfish are slurping them up eagerly and aggressively.

Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at snookfish.com, captdavewalker@verizon.net or 813 310-6531.