Fishing Report from For Shore Fishing.
By Michael Wilson / Ledger correspondent
Mangrove Snapper—Snapper fishing is still good
throughout the Tampa Bay region. Areas with
structure such as reefs, wrecks, rock piles,
and area bridges, are still producing a good
Strike Zone, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Elsewhere
1. At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, rough water and wind have slowed the action, but there’s been the usual snook and sea trout at night. There’s some Spanish mackerel during the mornings. A couple of cobia caught during the day on live shrimp. With the opening of snook season on Friday, management has decided to keep the pier open 24 hours, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462- 6466).
- At Madeira Beach, near shore the hogfish bite has been improving. Red grouper are biting steadily around the 110- to 120-foot mark. Kingfish and Spanish mackerel are still around. Offshore, the red grouper bite past 120 feet is good. Once you get past 150 feet and beyond, the gag grouper are there, too. Mangrove snapper are biting good, especially at night, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393- 1947).
- At John’s Pass, earlier in the week, the snook were feeding well in the pass even on an outgoing tide, but the recent runoff from the rain has slowed the bite down for most species. Fishing for sheepshead and black drum remains good. “These two species seem to flourish in the brown, brackish, turbulent water,” said Hubbard. On the beaches there’s still some decent tarpon action.
At Fort DeSoto Park, there are still schools of redfish on the flats, and the snook bite is exceptional around the bridges. Mangrove snapper remain excellent at the bridges and the ledges on the edge of the shipping channel. There’s at least one keeper cobia caught each day on the outgoing tide at the Tierra Verde Bridge. Spanish mackerel are still in the bay, reports Capt. Claude Hinson, of the Bait Bucket (727-864- 2108).
Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, Spanish mackerel are all over the bay. The inshore reefs and channel ledges are holding daily limits of mangrove snapper. There are also lots of big gag grouper in the bay. Larger trout are starting to show up in water 3-8 feet deep over deep grass. Redfish are starting to show at the mouth of the Manatee River. Permit are biting on small pass crabs and shrimp around Egmont Key, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters of Bradenton (941-705-3160). www.captainshawn.com
At Anna Maria, lots of mangrove snapper still around. Bigger trout are starting to show up on the flats around the passes. Snook and schools of redfish are also on the same flats on higher tides. Spanish mackerel are thick as well, reports Crawford.
At St. Petersburg, the mangrove snapper are still good around structure and the edges of the channel. Use shrimp, white bait, and pinfish. Lots of pompano are around Pinellas Point and the Misener Bridge. There’s some Spanish mackerel around the ledges and channel markers on live bait. Trout are good on the flats around Pinellas Point, reports Larry Mastry of Mastry’s Tackle (727-896-8889).
In the north end of Tampa Bay, There’s still a lot of mangrove snapper around the bridges, docks, and any structure. The snook and redfish bite has turned on early in the morning. “The trout bite has been on fire on the flats around the bait schools. We’re averaging two fish over 20 inches every trip.” Look for birds to find the trout and you’ll also find some mackerel and sharks. There’s also juvenile tarpon up in the bay, reports Capt. Jake Whitfield of Florida Outdoor Adventures (813-997- 5980).
• At Fort Pierce, offshore there’s plenty of kingfish in 50-90 feet of water. Slow trolling live baits or drifting dead sardines is getting the bite. A few dolphin and sailfish mixed in with the kings. Bottom fishing for mangrove snapper, grouper, triggerfish, and black sea bass is good. In the inlet, lots of mangrove and a few lane snapper. The grass flats north of the inlet are producing nice trout, reports Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465- 7637).
• On the Space Coast, a few nice redfish have been caught. Live shrimp or cut baits continue produce. The Indian River north of Titusville has produced fish up to 31 inches just after sun up during calm conditions, reports Capt. Keith Mixon of Mixin’ Work With Play Fishing Charters. (321-212- 8484).
• At Homosassa, the redfish bite is very good. Look for schools of mullet to find these fish. Live pinfish is the best bait, but if the floating grass is too bad, a spoon will produce fish. Trout fishing continues to improve. The best areas are north of the Chassahowitzka River channel in 3-4 feet of water just west of St. Martins Keys. Dark color, soft plastics are the best bait, reports Capt. William Toney of Homosassa Inshore Fishing Charters (352-621-9284).