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By Capt. Charlie 1.25.04

Lots of cold nights during the week have dropped the Gulf temperature well into the 50’s and it will probably stay there until sometime in March. Lots of big grunts and a few grouper are being caught offshore now along with some mangrove snapper and AJ’s. The close offshore fishing has about wrapped up except for grunts and trigger fish, but there are still lots of fish in the Tampa Bay Ship’s channel. You just have to luck up and be fishing for them when they finally decide it’s time to eat. The cold weather slows them down so much that it’s tough to guess when that will be.

On to the bait house reports:

Safety Harbor Bait and Tackle – 727-725-3474 – Trout and reds have been biting this week along with an occasional snook. Sheepshead are biting well around just about every piling and rock in the area for anglers fishing with small hooks tipped with shrimp.

Trappman’s Bait and Tackle on Gandy Blvd in St. Petersburg - 727-579-1414- Trout have been the big biters this week. Some really nice sheepshead came in from the bridge on Sunday, 5-6 pounders. A few nice mangrove snapper came in from the Bay this weekend as well.

Marina Outpost on Bay Pines Blvd. – 727-384-3474 – Reds and some grouper are biting inside of John’s Pass. Sheepshead are biting well around all the rocks and pilings. Trout seem to have slowed down this week but up the ICW the reds have made up the slack.

Fathoms on the Dock at Maximo in St. Petersburg – 727-867-3603 – Trout slowed down this week around the bridges. Sheepshead are biting around Ft. DeSoto and the causeway bridges. Our offshore boats have been going out to deep water and it’s been hit and miss even out there.

Pass-a-Grille Bait and Tackle on St. Pete Beach - 727-360-6606- Grouper have been coming in on our offshore boats from the deeper water. Sheepshead have been biting off our gas docks this week with catches of ten to twelve per angler common.

The Skyway Fishing Pier - 727-865-0668 and the south Skyway - 941-729-0117- Silver trout are about the best bets this week for anglers fishing at night. Those anglers that have the touch are catching a lot of sheepshead, many are up to 20 inches. Our water temperature was 59 degrees this Sunday morning.
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