Inshore fishing this time of year usually focuses on docks and canals as many species slow down and take shelter. Snook, redfish, black drum, and especially sheepshead will congregate on these inshore structures to soak up any warmth that they can. Live shrimp, fiddler crabs, sand worms, pinfish, and artificial jigs can all be effective. Seatrout also become more active on the grass flats during colder months and some days, can provide non-stop action.
Nearshore, tripletail can be found hiding underneath crab trap buoys off the beach and schools of pomano are plentiful on the sandbars surrounding Egmont Key. Shrimp is the best bait for both of these species. Gag grouper can be found on most artificial structures in Tampa Bay this time of year and will rarely turn down a live, energetic pinfish. Mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel are often found with the grouper, so be sure to hang a chum bag in order to get them feeding.
Offshore fishing in January usually means big snapper, hogfish, and both red and gag grouper. Live shrimp, pinfish, or squid-tipped artificial jigs are the baits to use. Cobia and kingfish often show up while bottom fishing offshore this time of year, so keep an eye out for any surface activity. Sharks will also be around despite the cold as they wait for the mullet run. A dead bait soaked on the bottom or under a cork rarely fails.
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.