Big, keeper size sheepshead have been the catch for Tampa Bay area anglers this week. – The Ledger

Strike Zones: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Compiled By Michael Wilson/Ledger correspondent

1: At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, this past weekend before the cooler weather, Spanish mackerel were being caught in the morning along with lots of silver trout and keeper size speckled trout. A 38 inch snook was also caught and there were quite a few under the lights at night. Since Monday, it’s mostly been sheepshead down around the pilings, whiting, silver trout, small bonnethead sharks, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462- 6466).

2: At Madeira Beach, near shore there’s been plenty of mangrove snapper along with nice hogfish, plentiful lane snapper, and some red grouper. Deeper offshore, big scamp and red grouper have been caught. The red grouper are best around 100-130 foot. The mangrove snapper are plentiful and good size. An occasional blackfin tuna is being caught on the flat lines and also while trolling, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).

3: At John’s Pass, the sheepshead bite is really good, especially around the south side of the bridge and the docks around the pass on small pieces of shrimp, fiddler crabs, or cut oysters. Black drum have been thick inside the pass as well. A couple of anglers caught some nice, big black drum from the dock at Hubbard’s using live shrimp on the bottom at the start of the outgoing tide. A lot of whiting are being caught from the north jetty on live shrimp on the sandy bottom, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).

4: At Fort De Soto Park, big keeper size sheepshead are being caught around the bridges, docks, and structure in the area. Some black drum and redfish have been mixed in with them. Trout, redfish, and some snook are biting in the potholes on low tide around the area flats and in the park. Whiting are being caught off the beach. Not much at the piers, the water has been churned up and real dirty, reports the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108).

5: Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, sheepshead are all over the bridges including the Skyway as well as the shipping channel, the inshore reefs, and pretty much any structure. Some trout are on the flats in the potholes around grass. Flounder, black drum, and redfish can be found on the deeper flats. The back bays and inside the rivers should produce some snook with the warm weather this weekend before the next cold front, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters. (941-705-3160).

6: At Anna Maria, sheepshead are on the docks, any structure, and the bridges in the area. Sheepshead are also being caught near shore from one to three miles. Deeper offshore, hogfish, mangrove, lane, and yellowtail snapper are being caught around hard bottom and ledges, reports Crawford.

7: At St. Petersburg, sheepshead and some black drum are being caught around all the bridges, any structure, the edge of the shipping channel, and some of the docks in the area. Some mangrove snapper are also still around. The flats off of Pinellas Point and the dock lines are holding trout and redfish, reports Mastry’s Tackle (727-896-8889).

8: In the north end of Tampa Bay, sheepshead and black drum are around all bridges and some of the docks in the area. The trout bite is good and the creeks to the north are holding them along with small redfish. MirrOlure Lil Johns and D.O.A. Shad Tail soft plastics in gold flake color have been best for the trout and redfish, reports Capt. Tim Whitfield of Swift Fish Charters. (813-714-0889).

Elsewhere

• At Fort Pierce, offshore, its been a little rough, but there’s still kingfish at the 50-80 foot mark and Spanish mackerel at 30-50 foot around Vero Cove. Pompano are being caught in the surf around the inlet. At the jetty, the inlet and the bridges, black drum, mangrove snapper, and sheepshead are biting. Redfish are being caught in the river to the north around the docks. The river is also producing trout to the north around Harbor Branch, reports Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637).

• At Homosassa, the rivers have been producing sheepshead, black drum, redfish, and mangrove snapper on live shrimp on the bottom. Anglers should target the deep holes on the north sides with warmer water. Trout are being caught outside the river mouths on hard bottom. Sheepshead are also being caught on live shrimp on the near shore rocks, reports Capt. William Toney of Homosassa Inshore Fishing Charters (352-621-9284).

Source: https://www.theledger.com/sports/20190117/big-keeper-size-sheepshead-have-been-catch-for-tampa-bay-area-anglers-this-week

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