Fishing Report from For Shore Fishing.
By Michael Wilson / Ledger correspondent
Mangrove Snapper—The summer mangrove snapper fishing remains good all over the Tampa Bay region as well as other area destinations. The edge of the shipping channel and any location with structure such as reefs, wrecks, rock piles, and the area bridges, are all producing solid numbers of keeper fish.
Strike Zone, 2-8, Elsewhere
(1) At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, this past week Spanish mackerel have been good in the mornings from sunrise to about 9:30 a.m. Lots of sheepshead on the pilings taking small crabs and pieces of shrimp. The trout and snook bite has been good, the best at night on live bait. The snook are hitting live sardines and ladyfish. Trout are hanging in the lights. Pier hours will change on Labor Day to 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (no longer 24 hours), reports Mark Ross at Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462- 6466).
(2) At Madeira Beach, offshore in the 120-300 foot range the grouper bite is still going well. The mangrove snapper remain excellent. Lots of hogfish, too. Tthe kingfish are starting to show about 12 miles out, and Spanish Mackerel are showing in force; the next two full moons should really kick, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).
(3) At John’s Pass, The mangrove snapper are thick around the bridge, even chasing artificials. Tarpon are rolling in the pass, but they’re finicky. The snook are stacked up like cordwood everywhere. The water has to be moving or they’re not feeding. Speckled trout everywhere on the dock lights at night. Also big black drum around the area docks, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393- 1947).
(4) At Fort DeSoto Park, mangrove snapper are excellent, pretty much everywhere there is structure. The redfish bite is picking up with some schools starting to show, especially on the area keys and potholes on the flats. Look for mullet around the mangroves; cast close to the tree lines and you’ll find redfish, too. Snook can be found along the beaches, reports Capt. Brett Norris of Rock Bottom Charters out of O’Neill’s: (727-512- 4415).
(5) Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, there’s big grouper in the bay along with keeper snapper. Any structure in the bay and the area bridges are holding snapper. Redfish are showing up; look for schools in the usual spots in the next couple of weeks. The snook are all over the place, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters of Bradenton (941-705- 3160). www.captainshawn.com
(6) At Anna Maria, the area bridges such as Manatee Avenue, Cortez, and Longboat Pass are holding nice keeper snapper. Anywhere there is structure, you’ll find snapper. The bigger size trout are starting to show up. The edges of the flats in 4-8 feet of water are holding nice fish. Redfish are showing up, but they are finicky, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters of Bradenton (941-705-3160). www.captainshawn.com
(7) At St. Petersburg, the mangrove snapper bite is great inside the bay in 15-20 feet of water or along the channel edge. Slower tide is best to keep your bait on the bottom. Plenty of bait on Pinellas Point down to the Sunshine Skyway Pier. The redfish schools are starting to show, but not a lot of fish yet. Snook are still on the beach and around the passes. Blind Pass is holding snook on the rock piles at night. Live bait is your best bet, reports Capt. Brett Norris of Rock Bottom Charters out of O’Neill’s: (727-512- 4415).
(8) In the north end of Tampa Bay, there’s a lot of Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and trout on the flats around the bait schools. The mackerel bite is best early. The mangrove snapper bite is real good on any structure. There’s good tripletail on the buoys, but best early in the morning. Big tarpon moving into the bay around the bridges and the tripod markers. There’s also been a great shark bite, reports Capt. Jake Whitfield of Florida Outdoor Adventures (813-997- 5980).
At Sebastian Inlet, there’s a good snapper bite right now. Mangrove snapper are best on the incoming tide and cubera best at night on the outgoing. The snook bite is excellent, gearing up for the opening of season next week on Sept. 1. Tarpon are on the beach and the mullet run is beginning. There’s lots of mojarra at the inlet as well, reports Whitey’s Bait & Tackle (321-724- 1440).
Indian River at Fort Pierce, early mornings have seen the best trout bite with topwater or D.O.A. Shrimp. Fish the grass flats 2-5 feet deep for best results. Snook are being caught along the mangroves. Redfish have also been under the mangrove lines. Snapper have been all over the river, channel edges and structure. The inlet has been invaded by ladyfish, jacks, blue runners and other species. Look for the glass minnow schools. Also some nice Spanish mackerel, reports Capt. Charlie Conner of Fish Tales Charters (772-284- 3852).
At Homosassa, mangrove snapper have been good inshore on hard bottom and rock piles. Redfish action continues to be a little tough. Trout fishing along the Chassahowitzka Channel can be productive on the overcast days with some breeze, reports Capt. William Toney of Homosassa Inshore Fishing Charters (352-621- 9284) www.homosassainshorefishing.com