Fishing Report from For Shore Fishing.
August 17, 2018
By Michael Wilson / Ledger correspondent
Spanish Mackerel — This week the Spanish mackerel bite turned on for Tampa Bay area anglers. Mackerel are along the beaches both near shore and offshore, and in the bay as far north as the Gandy Bridge.
Strike Zone, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Elsewhere
1: At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, Spanish mackerel are still good early in the morning. Some flounder showed up this week and the mangrove snapper are down around the pilings. “The big news was a 38 inch redfish caught earlier in the week,” reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462- 6466).
2: At Madeira Beach, near shore, big schools of bait are holding Spanish mackerel. The bottom bite is good for lane snapper and hogfish in 40-70 feet. Deeper offshore, amberjack season is in full swing and this past weekend we had some nice fish in the 60-70 pound range. Gag grouper and mangrove snapper are biting good in 120-160 feet, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).
3: At John’s Pass, “Spanish mackerel are here in force and feeding on small white bait. You have to use small spoons or Gotcha Plugs, but they are chasing the bait schools around the pass every morning,” reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947). Snook are still biting in the pass. Free lined live baits or dead bait on the bottom will get the bite. Whiting are on the beach and big trout are hitting inside on the docks at night, reports Hubbard.
4: At Fort DeSoto Park, mangrove snapper in the 17-18 inch range and keeper gag grouper are being caught at the drawbridge. At night, snook and tarpon are still being caught around the fenders. Sheepshead are biting good around the bridge pilings and along seawall. On the flats, slot size redfish are biting good on small pinfish and cut bait. Snook and mangrove snapper are biting around the mangrove shorelines on the higher tides. At the pier, Spanish mackerel up to 18 inches are steady. Snook are still biting along the beach at sunset, reports Capt. Claude Hinson, of the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108).
5: Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, mangrove snapper are all over the Skyway area. All the bridges, rock piles, and any structure are holding them. Spanish mackerel are also all over the bay. There’s a good trout bite on the deeper grass flats around Terra Ceia. Snook, trout, redfish, and some flounder biting good on the flats from the Manatee River and north. Schools of redfish have moved in and they’re biting on the higher tides around any mangrove shoreline near a flat with deeper water, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters. (941-705-3160).
6: At Anna Maria, “With the red tide, don’t bother fishing south of the Manatee Avenue Bridge. To the north the fishing is good,” reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters. (941-705-3160). Spanish mackerel are off the beach north of Longboat Pass to Egmont Key. Further offshore, both the mackerel and mangrove snapper are biting good, reports Crawford.
7: At St. Petersburg, “A lot of Spanish mackerel showed up along the beach this week. The bite is good from Pass a Grille Beach to Bind Pass, reports Larry Mastry of Mastry’s Bait & Tackle (727-896-8889). There’s still some snook on the beach and from the Pass a Grille jetty. Mangrove snapper and gag grouper are still good along the edge of the shipping channel. Pinellas Point has a good trout bite and there’s some redfish on the residential docks. Some pompano are still being caught at the Misner Bridge, reports Mastry.
8: In the north end of Tampa Bay, the mangrove snapper are thick at both the Gandy and Howard Frankland Bridges. Trout are biting on the flats and there’s Spanish mackerel in the channel and on the deeper flats. Some small snook in the 22-24 inch range are being caught, reports Capt. Jake Whitfield of Florida Outdoor Adventures (813-997-5980).
– At Sebastian Inlet, “Offshore, the red snapper bite is fantastic and we have another open season this weekend,” reports Duncan Frenz at Whitey’s Bait & Tackle (321-724-1440). At the inlet, trophy size snook are being caught in the inlet and in the surf on live croakers. There’s also mangrove snapper, redfish, and big jack crevalle in the inlet. On Wednesday we had a Spanish mackerel run, reports Frenze.
– At Fort Pierce, “We have another open season for red snapper this weekend and the bottom bite is good from 90-180 foot,” reports Adam White at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637). The kingfish bite is good on the troll in 80-100 foot. Mangrove snapper up to 10-12 lbs good on the bottom with smaller lanes mixed in. Mutton snapper are closer in (20-40 foot) and hitting cut bait on the bottom. Inside the inlet, the snook bite is great on live bait on the outgoing tide. Inshore mangrove snapper are biting good at the bridges. On the beach, whiting are being caught in the surf in the Middle Cove area, reports White.
– At Homosassa, the inshore bite for trout and redfish has been good. Areas with thick rock grass near outside points or deep bays are the most productive on the high, outgoing tide for the trout. Offshore, the grouper bite on live pinfish and sardines is good in the 40 foot range, reports Capt. William Toney of Homosassa Inshore Fishing Charters (352-621-9284).
“May your lines be tight and your shake off’s and break off’s memorable.”