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Thursday, Mar 30, 2017

Go Fishing: January perfect for finding big trout

Tribune correspondent

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides.

Every January since I can remember, the big trout roll in. This January seems to be no different.

Speckled trout to 25 inches are seemingly everywhere. In shallow water, deep water, on the docks, in the back country and out front. All the places I checked this week were holding good-sized trout. Live pilchards worked great, as did the MirrOlure Lil Johns fished on quarter-ounce jig heads.

From Apollo Beach, all along the South Shore to Fort De Soto, Weedon Island and up into Double Branch and Double Bayou, keeper trout can be had.

The flounder and sheepshead bites also were fairly strong. The flounder came on jigs, and the sheepshead on small live shrimp fished on a jig head on the bottom. We caught the sheepshead fishing older docks and the flounder in areas of hard sand bottom.

All three of these species should remain plentiful through February, with the big trout here well into April.

We also got reports of steady inshore cobia action along the deeper edges of the flats. Always keep your eyes open for these tasty brown bombers, as they are often found hanging with the bigger rays in the bay. A live bait or artificial will earn a strike, so always have a bait ready to pitch. Offshore, when you can get out, amberjack seem to be the big target, as they are all over the near-shore wrecks with the cooler water temps.

Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the “Reel Animals Fishing Show” on Saturdays from 6:30-7 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-9 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit www.reelanimalsfishingshow.com.