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Trout, redfish have been in rare form

Posted Feb 15, 2013 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Feb 15, 2013 at 06:44 PM


Before this crazy weather rolled in, fishing was about as good as I have seen it in February.

Big gator trout are dominating our attention, with schools of oversized redfish mixed in for good measure. Even the snook were eating as if it was late March and not mid February. We had several of our 866-GAMEFISH guides reporting getting each client on their boat an inshore slam with relative ease.

The key to this madness has obviously been the great weather and the abundance of bait that has been around all winter thanks to mild weather. Free-lining medium pilchards worked best for me on the big trout, and cut bait was the trick for the big redfish. Place a small split shot just above your hook while using cut bait to help fend off birds if they become a problem.

On the artificial side, we are still having our best luck on the KVD Swimming Caffeine Shad in white and baby bass colors. Rig it on an eighth-ounce Strike King jig head and go to work fishing the pot holes in 2 to 3 feet of water.

Remember to pick areas of big mullet concentrations for best results. The low incoming tides were best for the big trout, and the high outgoing tides seemed to get the redfish going.
For great top water action try the Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg in chartreuse. The trout have been crushing this bait first thing in the mornings.

Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the “Reel Animals Fishing Show” on Saturdays from 6:30-7 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-9 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit

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