John Rivers

The first week of December has been off the charts with the bulls. I've put the trout fishing in the upper bay areas on hold, because most of my clients are wanting to pull on big reds. Even my more advanced anglers from up north that primarily bass fish are choosing to chase the big reds. Can you blame them? It's some crazy-awesome-fantastic- fun action fishing! We've had some really foggy days and some perfectly sunny days, but so far the weather hasn't affected the bulls' bite. The key is to watch the tides with the reds, because even though they are here in the bay by the thousands, you have to fish moving water and good tidal movement similar like you do when fishing the flats.

I always ask what style of fishing my clients would like to do, whether they prefer artificials for trout / slot red fishing or if they would like to go after the big bulls. As soon as they hear the options, they usually can't resist the lure of the big red trip. When else are they going to get the chance to hook in to a 30" 45" monster fish like they can during our bull redfish run? I have to admit, it is awesome to see their faces when they see the water boil up with a huge school of reds, and when that bull strikes, they are so excited and can hardly believe the strength of these fish! I fish for these bulls with artificials only using buck tail jigs (1.5 2 oz Spro Jigs) and 7' to 8' MH to heavy spinning rods.

As I mentioned earlier in the report about the upper bay areas, the trout and redfish bite is very good in the winter. When I fish the upper bay areas, I fish all artificials with both soft and hard plastics. I'll fish both shallow and deep holes depending upon the cold fronts.

If you do like light tackle artificials for trout and slot reds, then winter is a great time to enjoy some fun light tackle action here in Pensacola.

Till the next adventure, here's wishing you happy holidays.

Tight Lines.


Fish Species: Redfish
Bait Used: Spro Jigs
Tackle Used:
Method Used: Jigging
Water Depth: 12-30 ft
Water Temperature:
Wind Direction:
Wind Speed:
Brian is all smiles after landing this big redfish
Brian is all smiles after landing this big redfish

Double hookups are always fun!
Double hookups are always fun!

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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