John Rivers

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

December was unusually warm with only a few cold fronts, so the bite was awesome for trout, reds and snook. Some of the fish went to their winter stomping grounds, but not all of them, as some were spread out around the flats. Let's talk about the major cold front we just had on Saturday morning, with 36 degrees and a little colder in a few spots. Just what will this do to the fish? It's going to put them in lockjaw mode for a few days for sure. I drove over the 580 bridge today and most of the water in the upper bay was pushed out from the north winds. Even during high tide, I think the water will not be where it should be due to the higher north winds. With the temps dropping so far down in a 24hr period, it's going to really affect the fish and water temps. I'm thinking around Wednesday the trout and redfish bite will be very good, or maybe as early as Tuesday. Usually it takes two to three days for the fish to adjust to such a drastic cold front. Snook, on the other hand, will be more affected by this cold front and will stage in areas that are warmer and they'll likely be more lethargic than usual. You'll still catch some, but not like you did prior to this cold front. Before the cold front in the last week of December, I was still finding fish following their fall patterns, which was nice.

Bait and lures:

Of course, live pilchards or cut bait was working well last week and with the cold front the bait is going to be pushed out near the Skyway and deep holes in the bay. If it stays this cold for much longer the white bait will be hard to find.

But no worries, as I love tossing artificials, and in the winter months, that is perfect for trout and reds.

I like a variety of artificials when it comes to fishing for trout, reds and even snook. A few lures that have been working well are top water plugs, as well as the MirrOlure 17Mr or a Matrix Shad on a 3/8 to oz jig head. I like an outgoing tide when fishing the flats. If you're fishing and find a nice deep hole (8 ft -14 ft) near a dock or inlet, have a Matrix bait tied on a to 3/8 jig head, the trout can't resist them.

My next bait choice is a Bass Assassin Jerk Shad on a 1/8 to 1/4oz weighted 5/0 6/0 worm hook, these two set ups are deadly to trout and you'll even pick up a redfish or two if they're around.

Snook fishing the groves with artificials is a little different; try tossing top waters, or a MirrOlure Catch 2000 or 17MR.

Thanks for stopping by; I'll try to write more current reports. I'm also going to start doing video reports and short 3 to 5 minute fishing videos.

Tight Lines.

Capt. John


Reel'Em In Inshore Charters

Covering Tampa Bay, Saint Joseph Sound, Saint Petersburg and Clearwater Beach

Fish Species: Trout, Redfish
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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 !

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