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Wading the flats could be productive

Posted Dec 20, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Dec 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM

The front blowing through today will mean rough water inshore and off today and Saturday, but probably lying down nicely by Sunday. Forty-degree overnights are like ly to move more cold-sensitive fish into the back water potholes, residential canals and to the power plant outflow at Apollo Beach.

Another great venue this weekend will be wading the flats; with the strong north and northeast winds after the front passes, extreme low tides will be found all along the east shore of Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay, making for excellent sight-fishing.

DOA Shrimp or GULP crabs cast to tailing reds is usually the ticket, while trout and sheepshead in the holes will grab a fresh-cut shrimp tail on a quarter-ounce jig-head.

For those who prefer to stay in the boat, captain Sergio Atanes is a pro at catching big winter sheepshead on Tampa Bay;”>

Captain Billy Nobles reported loads of king mackerel on the tanks some seven miles off the Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach last week — the current chill probably won’t be strong enough to move these fish south yet. Nobles, the well-known co-host of “Reel Animals” TV and radio shows, can be booked at

Captain Van Hubbard reports lots of pompano around the Stump Pass to Boca Grande area this week, so many that his clients caught some by accident on She Dog topwater plugs, and then lots more on Doc’s Goofy Jigs.

He said water has cleared and red tide appears to be absent. He also reports seeing lots of snook in channels, canals and outside the bars, including some jumbos;

In fresh water, expect bass to be moving to spawning areas as the full moon approaches the week of the 28th; firm sand bottom with scattered bulrushes or maidencane in 2 to 4 feet of water is prime on Okeechobee, Kissimmee, Hatchineha and Toho. Spawners move into canals off Lake Tarpon at this time of year if weather is reasonably warm, as well; flippin’ crawfish and “critter” baits is the easy way to get them.

Prime winter shiner fishing also will be back in full force this week at Rodman Reservoir northeast of Ocala, as well as throughout the St. Johns River lakes. Crappies action is also approaching a peak in water 8 to 12 feet deep, where slow-trolled Hal Flies and other tiny jigs connect around baitfish schools.

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