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Captain's corner


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000

From now until spring, the Tampa Bay area will be experiencing some extremely low negative tides.

Even when the flats are void of water, lots of fish still are around to be caught.

When water exits the flats and heads back into the Gulf of Mexico, it leaves behind pockets or holes of trapped fish. The key is knowing where these spots are.

One way to find such spots is to cruise along the outside edges of the flats looking for pockets of standing water. These areas may be 300 or 400 yards from the edge of the dry and barren flats.

This requires wade fishing. Before leaving the boat, grab a light spinning rod outfit and a few lures. I'm often asked: What are your favorite lures? Here are my top four: an imitation shrimp, a gold spoon, a walking topwater and a curly tail jig (one-eighth-ounce to one-quarter-ounce head).

Now, put on some wade booties and get out of the boat. As you walk across the dry flat, contemplate your approach to the hole. Try to stay upwind; this will help with longer casts.

If you're fishing early or late in the day, try to avoid casting a long shadow into the fishing spot. It may spook fish.

Work the bait slowly; the falling water temperature slows fish metabolism.

- Wade Osborne operates Afishionado Guide Services in Tampa. Call (813) 286-3474 or

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