Remarks: spawns OFFSHORE between March and September; feeds on mollusks and crustaceans, especially sand fleas; local movements are influenced by the tide, and seasonal movements are influenced by temperature.
For Snook enthusiasts that would rather avoid the summer heat, night fishing is a highly-productive alternative. Snook are nocturnal and generally prefer to feed at night anyway. You’ll typically find them scouting for dinner underneath the dock lights.
Capt. Gene Maxwell is our resident expert on everything that has to do with whats biting in Tampa Bay. A native of this area Geno has spent his whole life fishing these flats and know the area like no other.
Remarks: red drum are an INSHORE species until they attain roughly 30 inches (4 years), then they migrate to join the NEARSHORE population; spawning occurs from August to November in NEARSHORE waters; sudden cold snaps may kill red drum in shallow, INSHORE waters; feeds on crustaceans, fish and mollusks; longevity to 20 years or more.
Clearwater Beach fishing has been good just before I left I was catching good numbers of redfish and trout. When I got back mid month we got right back to it with Redfish, Trout, Snook, mackerel, jacks, many more species fishing the deep grass flats just inside Clearwater harbor and up around St. Joesph sound in Dunedin. Live sardine have been key to our success and they have been abundant, but small. We have even done a couple fly fishing trips lately, and we had no issues catching plenty of fish on the fly! If you want to do a fly trip just let me know.
Clearwater Beach has had a good Redfish bite, along with a good number of trout and some nice sharks. Redfish have been biting best on the early morning high tides for us and for anglers looking to target these fish we haven’t been have any issues finding them! Trout fishing has also been really good fishing over deep grass flats near the passes. And the sharks have been biting good on fresh dead bait while we have been catching other fish.
You’ll need to park and carry your tackle, but the pier has shelters, a snack bar and bait shop as well as fish cleaning stations. Cost is $15 for adults to access the entire pier or $12 for children.
Lower Tampa Bay around the Clam Bar on the Pinellas side is notorious for holding some monster black drum that begin moving into the bay over the next couple of months. Many of these breeders range up into the 50-plus pound bracket. Due to their size, stout rods and line are advised in order to land these beasts. Like the sheepshead, these fish will take a shrimp tipped jig. A bag limit of five fish per person between 14 and 24-inches may be kept and one of these five may be over 24-inches. Black drum over the maximum size begin holding more parasitic worms. While they may be harmless to ingest when cooked properly, some feel that they aren’t very appetizing. Boat docks in Sarasota Bay are great spots to find black drum as well.
Like reefs, bridges offer abundant opportunity with lots of room for personal style. However, unlike their submerged counterparts, bridges are easy to locate and you rarely have to worry about finding dive flags on your spot.
Get your dose of Redfish when the fishing is still hot! The Snook bite is consistent on the outgoing tide with 20 to 24 inch class. Sheepshead and Mangrove Snapper are around the bridges and on the rock pile.
And Pinellas County doesn’t have a monopoly on piers. In south Tampa, Picnic Island and Ballast Point fishing piers can be hot spots. The Ballast Point pier reaches far out into Tampa Bay. With a picturesque view of the downtown Tampa skyline, it has plenty of room for anglers.
The weather is outstanding and even a few days of winds can’t spoil it. Make Snook your main target this month, but don’t forget about Trout and Redfish of all sizes. Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, and Blackfin Tuna start to show up offshore.
Just don’t dangle your feet over the side, as warmer months find loads of sharks patrolling the pilings. On a particularly memorable outing, we were treated to a glowing green light show as millions of planktonic players erupted with bioluminescence as our boat moved through their masses. The crescendo came under the Gandy Bridge when a line of cruising tarpon suddenly bolted as an honest 12-foot figure passed maybe a rod length from the bow.
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Cpt Steve is friendly, kind and experienced. He’ll put you right on the fish and makes the trip enjoyable regardless of the catches. Great for couples, families or friends. Caight redfish, snook, catfish, trout, ladyfish and an awesome kack crevalle in just half a day….More
Tampa Bay bridges produce year-round but the popularity increases as the thermometer rises. Fish and anglers beat the heat by sticking close to a bridge’s shaded waters. When thunderstorms threaten, a bridge is your umbrella and windbreak. No need to run back to port—just tuck behind the downwind side and ride out the blow.
• Dangling Tackle: Popping out from the bridge shadows and running face-first into a dropping hook or sinker is a guaranteed ER visit. Also, an often tenuous relationship exists between those fishing from a bridge and those motoring around it, so remember the courtesy thing and stay clear of deployed lines.
Vincent, Great question. I did do one charter where I had two customers that wanted to split a charter. I went ahead and made the arrangements for them to fish together with me. Unfortunately for them personality’s clashed between them. It made for a uncomfortable trip for both of them and me. Since that incident I do not any longer mix charters. If you would like to call me maybe I could work something out to accommodate you doing a charter with me or possibly another captain in my net work. Thank you, Capt. Steve 813-727-8843 P.S. I apologize for the delay in response. I just noticed I had the notification for a question this morning.
Throughout most of the year, the species are caught in very shallow grass flats, up to 3ft. deep. Even though most fisheries go in deep hibernation during the winter months, the tailing Reds of Tampa Bay remain very much active. That said, they usually migrate to deeper waters at this time, normally between 4 and 8 feet.