GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Mike Anderson, right, with "Reel Animals" partner Billy Nobles.
December's big trout finally showed up this week, as reports from all over the Bay area rolled in. Captains Brian Caudell from Tarpon Springs, Shawn Crawford from Sarasota, Rob Gorta from St. Petersburg and Terry Russo all reported good numbers of big trout in the 17- to 25-inch range in Cockroach Bay. Most were fishing large pilchards free-lined into large sand holes on flats near deep water.
I fared pretty well Monday fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork, but there are still a lot of pinfish on the flats because of the warm weather, so live pilchards will work best if you can find them.
For those awaiting the sheepshead push, you're in luck. The Bay area bridges are covered in these sneaky bait thieves. Light fluorocarbon leader, small No. 1 or 1/0 hooks with a split shot and a small shrimp work great, but be ready as they are awfully quick on the draw, but they are worth the energy as they make for fantastic table fare.
The flounder bite remains good as well. Slowly work your plastic jigs over areas of hard bottom with good moving water. The trick is to work the bait slowly, making sure it is right on the bottom. This week, we had great luck on natural-colored baits such as baby bass and watermelon-red glitter. The Strike King KVD swimming caffeine shad with a quarter-ounce jig head worked really well for us as well.