Skinny Water Report By: Derick Burgos

Kayak fishing for spotted sea trout during fall and winter months here in Tampa Bay can produce some big fish; here are a few tips and tricks to get you on that monster trout.

Trout have a very soft and delicate mouth, oversized gear, or a very tight drag will damage their soft mouths and even possibly kill them. Because of this, light to ultralight tackle is an absolute must.

For example, try using a light to medium light seven foot six inch rod, 10 pound class reel, spooled with eight to ten pound braided line, tipped with at least 18 inches of 20 pound, fluorocarbon, if you are using artificials. Use three to five feet of fluorocarbon if you are using live bait.

Whether you flip artificial lures, or float corks with live bait, sea trout react violently. The most important thing to remember is to always keep the bait moving. This isn’t such a problem when using lures, but much attention is needed while using live bait.

Don’t forget to check your baits periodically and make sure they are still alive. Trout have been known to take a cut or dead bait, but live baits are the ticket.

Most of the trout I’ve ever caught on artificials have been on topwaters and soft plastics. For the sake of this article, I’ll only discuss these two.

I only use topwaters in super shallow water, from a foot to three feet during an outgoing tide. I will switch to soft plastics in deeper water during the hottest part of the day.

Tampa Bay is a haven for trout; they are one of our most popular gamefish. While we don’t necessarily have an abundance of 30 to 36 inch slobs like they do on the east coast, we certainly don’t have a shortage of quality fish.

Here in the bay, these fish can be found anywhere from back country creeks to the deep grass flats. The best advice I can give is to start by spending a lot of time casting to and around potholes. Look for hard bottom with lots of grass patches mixed in, trout thrive in these areas as they wait for prey to cross their path.

Be sure to only keep your limit, and if you are handling them for photos remove your gloves and wet your hands so that you won’t remove their slime coating. Use these simple tips and you will get into some nice fish.