Saltwater fishing: Cold weather kicking the sheepshead into action – The Ledger
Cold temperatures have triggered the seasonal sheepshead bite around the Tampa Bay region and locations elsewhere. Areas with structure such as bridges, rock piles, oyster bars, and docks are favorites for these fish.
By Michael Wilson Ledger correspondent
1. At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, fishing has been pretty dismal lately with the cold weather. There have been a few sharks caught. The water temp on Wednesday was 61.9 degrees, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466).
2. At Madeira Beach, bottom dropping offshore for gag grouper has been outstanding for anglers working water in 20 to 70 feet. Gag grouper are all over the place. Anglers have also reported catching gags on rock piles in Tampa Bay. Some of the gags have measured 30 inches. The hogfish are still biting in 40 to 60 feet, but at a much slower rate since the cold weather set in, reports Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).
3. At John’s Pass, the sheepshead bite has really turned. They’re all over the jetties, the bridge pilings, and the area docks. There’s still some black drum around, as well. Inside, the trout bite is good in the deeper holes with warmer water, Hubbard reports.
4. At Fort DeSoto Park, the sheepshead bite is real strong and the flounder bite is good, too. Gag grouper are still good at the bridge. “We had a 26 ½ inch gag caught from the seawall at the bridge this past week,” reports Capt. Claude Hinson, of the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108). There are lots of small trout on the flats around the park. There are also keeper redfish at East Beach and around Conception Key. Whiting are biting on the beach and near the passes, Hinson reports.
5. Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, they’re still