Inshore fishing this time of year usually focuses on docks, canals, basins, and seawalls in shallow water. Many species like snook, redfish, black drum, mangrove snapper, and sheepshead will congregate on these inshore structures and soak up any sun and warmth that they can. Live shrimp, fiddler crabs, sand worms, pinfish, and artificial jigs can all be effective in these situations and are commonly used. Seatrout and many other fun sportfish such as jack crevalle can also be found cruising deeper channels during strong low tides.
Nearshore fishing is very exciting in the cooler months. Tripletail show up on the crab trap buoys off the beach and can be caught by sight-casting in the clear waters. Large schools of pomano are also plentiful off the beaches this time of year so be sure to keep an eye out for a flash while running. Gag grouper move in close and swarm the artificial structure in Tampa Bay and will jump on any pinfish put on the bottom.
Offshore this time of year usually means kingfish and hogfish in addition to the usual suspects. An artificial reef or wreck a few miles out with diving birds and some surface bait almost always means kingfish. They make a great dip when smoked and will readily take a trolled diving plug or live blue runner. Hog snapper can also be found more easily this time of year on hard bottom or natural ledges from 20-40 feet. Be sure to hang a chum bag while fishing this type of bottom to excite other species such as mangrove snapper.
Hiring a local fishing charter service at Keyes Marina can help to ensure a successful and enjoyable fishing trip. A charter captain can provide insight into local fishing spots, techniques, tackle, regulations, tides, weather, and gear.