Fishing in January 2019

The fishing in January has been very productive so far. We have had some great catches of a variety of species. This time of year the fishing can change a bit from week to week due to cold fronts that move through our area. The willingness to diversify is what keeps Tampa Flats and Bay Fishing Charter’s on top of the game.
I have never been one to do the same thing in life over and over without getting bored very easily. This has been true even in fishing for me. I guess that’s what I love so much about fishing. It constantly changes so if you have the willingness to diversify it can really keep the fishing interesting.
Over the past 11 years of my full time career as a fishing guide I have found that diversity not only keeps it interesting for me but also my customers.
Tampa Bay is over 400 square miles. An area that large holds a lot of fish and opens up a lot of opportunity to catch them. Its actually a place that can be a bit overwhelming for the person who is new to fishing the area because knowing where the fish might be at a given time can be a bit tricky.
As you’re guide of Tampa Bay I have worked hard over the years spending countless hours and days on the water to eliminate those tricks that can trip you up.
This month has been a bit tricky. We rolled into January with wind and cold fronts. Fortunately we have had some great days where the wind has laid down giving us slick calm conditions on the bay allowing us to do a bit of cruising to the open water where some of the best tasting fish have been holding. This has been great for my customers who like to take a fresh fish dinner home. There have been a few days we have been regulated to fishing back country areas where the fishing has been good but a bit more challenging to find them and then get them to eat the baits we offered. Overall we have had some very productive trips so far this month.
Lets start with the back country fishing. We have been catching a lot of Redfish. Most have been on the small side but usually its been catching them by the dozens. Live shrimp presented slowly has been the ticket when targeting them. We have also been catching some respectable Black Drum using the same technique. Trout have been hit or miss. The ones we have been catching have been of decent size. Snook have been caught but its not a species I typically target this time of year.
Here are a few pictures of what we have caught in the back country so far fishing in January.

Top Left: Redfish Right side: Black Drum Bottom Left: Trout

Out in the open waters of Tampa Bay its another ball game. Fishing the reefs,rock piles and edges of the shipping channels has been very productive for catching Mangrove Snapper, Key West Grunts,Sheepshead and Grouper.
My customers have been putting together some nice boxes of fish to take home for a few meals. This type of fishing has provided the most steady rod bending action of all. We fish light tackle for these fish so it can be a challenge getting them in the boat. This is a great time for all. I do my best to keep the fishing as simple as possible for my customers. I get a mix of novice and experienced anglers on board and I want everyone to catch fish.
Here are some pictures of the fish we have been catching in the open waters of the bay.

Left:Sheepshead Top Right: Grouper Bottom Right: Cooler with mixed bag of Snapper,Sheepshed and Key West Grunt
Mangrove Snapper Great Eating
Key West Grunt One of the best tasting fish and puts up a nice fight.
This will be a memorable trip. Dennis from Moscow, Russia came all the way to Florida to fish with me. The two fish he is holding are the first two fish he ever caught! He caught on quick and proceeded to put together a nice box of fish.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out Tampa Flats and Bay Fishing Charter’s January fishing report. If you have any questions or would like to book a charter feel free to call or text 813-727-8843 or you can email me by going to our contact us page.

Capt. Steve Betz

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