John Rivers

First report for 2014: The New Year came in with some seriously cold temps!!!

22 degrees in the mornings one day and on Tuesday it's going to be in the teens, Brrr!!!!!!

The temps should be back to normal in a few days. This cold weather will kick off some good trout fishing in the rivers and upper bays. Of course, it will take a few days after the cold front for the fish to adjust and then it will be on.

If you have been wanting to learn more about the fishing in our area, whether you get here a couple times a year for vacation or if you are a local looking to master the fine art of flats fishing, then perhaps a private instructional trip is in your future. I run Saltwater Fishing Academy, one of the finest instructional technical guided trips along the panhandle. It's an addition to my regular family style charters, and an instructional trip is more of a tutorial on how to correctly fish the flats, including tackle choices, artificial vs. live bait, and watching the tides.

See link for more details.

This weekend should be good for the big reds in the bay and for specks and slot reds in the upper bay areas before the next major cold front. There is going to be another serious cold front on Monday and Tuesday and it will affect the fish some, so if you do go out remember to slow down your presentation with your twitch baits or soft plastics. During the winter months I gradually slow down my presentation, which has absolutely put more fish in the boat. Here are a few baits I use in the winter, a drop-shot rig rigged with a Z-Man Hula StickZ ( Colors I like are mud minnow, green pumpkin, and white. I also like small 4" grubs rigged up. The hook I use on my drop-shot is a Gamakatsu #1 Kale Hook.

One of my other go to baits in the winter is Mirror Lures Paul Brown; it's a suspending twitch bait and in the winter and early spring, it's deadly for big trout! Colors I like are pink metal flake and the two-tone mullet color, just remember a very slow presentation is how this bait is worked in cooler water.

Remember to put some Pro-Cure on the bait; this stuff is like candy to the fish, and one coating pretty much lasts all day long.

Here's wishing everyone a great year of fishing and tight lines!


Mega-Bite Inshore Charters


Fish Species: Redfish, Trout
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Triple Hook ups are always fun!
Triple Hook ups are always fun!

My son Nick is all smiles after landing this monster red!
My son Nick is all smiles after landing this monster red!

John Rivers

About The Author: Captain John Rivers

Company: Rivers to Bay Fishing Charters

Area Reporting: Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St Peterburg

Bio: I have a lifetime of fishing knowledge and over 8yrs of experience fishing the northern gulf coast and our local water ways. I have enjoyed fishing all my life. While living in the Midwest, I fished Kentucky & Barkley Lake for years along with the Ohio River and many local water ways. My first passion was bass fishing, but when I came to Florida, I found my new love Salt Water Fishing !

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain John Rivers