Tampa Bay Christmas Fishing Report
We will have to call this the Christmas report since it is Christmas day as I write this, how is that for dedication, or maybe it's just that I procrastinated a bit this week. Perhaps the Redfish report would be more fitting because that would be the best depiction of the past months fishing.
Ever since those first few strong cold fronts about a month ago the Redfish have been my prime target and by far the bulk of the catch. They have been on fire. I can't think of the last day that we caught less than 40 to 50 and on the best day more than 75 and most of my charters lately have been 4 or 6 hour trips. I ran a half day yesterday and we caught at least 50 reds maybe 60. This past week I didn't have a day we counted less than 50 Redfish.
Now that being said, we have been getting lots of smaller ones in the 16 to 17 inch class. They are fun on light tackle and the action is fast, it makes for a fun time. We have also been getting plenty of keepers mixed in with the small ones for the ice box. Most of the keepers are running 19 to 25 inches. I have not been getting any oversize Reds lately as I was last winter. I'm sure there are a few schools of large bulls hanging around somewhere, but it's hard to leave biting fish.
We have also been catching a variety of other fish while targeting Reds. We are also catching some nice eating size Black Drum from 16 to 24 inches. We have also been getting lots of good eating Sheepshead. The Sheepshead fishing should get better and better from here on for the next few months. They are great to eat and when they get over 5 pounds a lot of fun to catch. As always when fishing with shrimp, this time of year, we are also picking up some bonus Flounder.
Trout are back in season January First. I have not been targeting them since they went out of season in November, but we did catch some trophy size up to 25 inches this week while targeting Reds. I have been seeing lots of nice Trout when running from spot to spot from high above in my tower. When January gets near in a few days we are going to put a hurting on them, it should be a lot of fun. Trout and Redfish stock seem to be doing really well this year.
As for offshore I have not been out since the water got down into the 50s. I'm sure there is plenty of Grouper action around, but until the water temp gets into the low 60s I will stick to the fast action Red fishing.
Well I hope you enjoyed the Redfish/Christmas report. Have a great holiday and get out and enjoy this beautiful sunny Florida weather.
Capt. Matt Ercoli
About The Author: Captain Matt Ercoli
Company: Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay to Sarasota Florida
Bio: Capt. Matt Ercoli is a premier Florida Gulf coast fishing guide and 1999 Saltwater Flats National Champion. He has assisted clients to five IGFA world records. Capt. Matt's experience and knowledge of local waters assures a successful day of fishing. Whether you prefer light tackle fishing or you're a fly-fishing purist, Capt. Matt can accommodate you. Fishing possibilities include the clear saltwater flats and mangrove backcountry from Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg to Sarasota; fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. If your preference is offshore fishing, there is permit, kingfish, grouper, little tunny, shark and more.