Towerboaters will want to pay particular attention to clearance, and stay alert for the sudden lift of waves. You might have plenty of room while sitting still, but let a big boat or ship send 3-foot swells under your boat and you’ll run out of space in a hurry.
• On the Space Coast, sheepshead are feeding inside Port Canaveral near structure as well as residential canals in both the Indian and Banana Rivers. Live shrimp, fiddler crabs, or cut clams, have all worked well. A few nice black drum up to 19 inches have been caught on fresh cut ladyfish or mullet fished along channel drop-off’s throughout the Haulover and Barge Canals, and the Thousand Islands. The black drum are most active during the first few hours of the day, reports Capt. Keith Mixon of Mixin’ Work With Play Fishing Charters. (321-212-8484).
Where found: OFFSHORE species associated with rocky reefs, debris, and wrecks, typically in 60 – 240 feet of water; sometimes caught NEARSHORE in south Florida; juveniles associated with floating objects and may occur in water less than 30 feet deep.
NOTE: Many marine species are managed on a coast-wide basis with seasons and limits required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Those regulations must then be approved by our state’s Marine Fisheries Council. The Council usually addresses these issues at their March meeting with the management measures becoming effective in mid- to late April or early May. The Marine Digest is normally published in May; the 2017 edition will be available in July. Regulations remain in effect until changed.
Further defining the proximity variables, a recent trip with Capt. Chuck Rogers of Tampa found us hovering under the Gandy and pulling a few mangrove snapper from the pilings. When the action slowed, we moved outside and did the anchor-and-chum routine. Rogers noted the wisdom of fanning a bridge section to locate the sweet spot. Once we dialed in the spot, several keeper mangos hit the ice.
I have been fishing with Capt Steve for several years. I am usually in the Tampa area 5-7 times per year and try to sneak in a trip with Capt Steve. We went out today during a very cold day. Capt Steve put us on…More
Offshore game fish, like marlin and tuna, can be very large and heavy tackle is needed. Fishing is usually done with sea rods, such as downtide rods, with lines of 30 to 50 pounds and multiplier reels. Baits are the same as for inshore fishing and include squid and whole mackerel as well as artificial lures such as perks. Fishing takes place over reefs and wrecks for very large cod, ling and congers.
“It’s really relaxing to come out here and fish,” said Jamie Messina, 42, of Tampa. “It’s nice coming out here at night when the lights are on and you have the view of the city. You can catch jacks and angel fish. I’ve even seen some small hammerhead (sharks) caught here.”
8: In the north end of Tampa Bay, “Snook are in their usual fall season spots. Most of the fish are small, but on Thursday we had a 29-inch fish, and two just over 34 inches,” reports Capt. Jay Plastic of Stealth Fishing Charters. (813-494-2048). Small redfish are being caught in the creeks and on the oyster bars. Trout are in the deeper holes. Most fish are small, but a few keepers up to 19 inches are being caught. “This upcoming cold front should really get the trout bite going,” reports Plastic.
Redfish are an extremely popular target for West Coast Florida inshore fisherman. They are abundant, generally aggressive feeders and, once located, can be caught in significant numbers. Although lacking the speed and jumping ability of the snook, they are most appreciated for their powerful, fighting style. When fishing the flats with artificial baits such as plastic baits or spoons, a redfish provides a jarring strike. Using bait, the take is typically a light tap followed by a driving run. Larger schools of fish can also be located on shallow grass flats. Getting properly positioned in front of a large school of “reds” can quickly put a bend in every rod on the boat. Redfish provide good summer action, even during the hottest months. Although fishing is slower during the winter, groups of fish can be located in the warmer backwater locations. Once located, these schools can provide “rapid fire” action.
The Intracoastal waters of Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs add to your potential catch of redfish, snook, grouper, pompano, sheepshead, spotted seatrout and Spanish mackerel. A few fights with a jack, ladyfish or gafftopsail catfish will keep the day lively while the mild climate provides for favorable fishing conditions year-round.
Other anglers say that inshore fishing is anything within 3 miles of shore, while others say it’s based on the kind of fish you are catching (but I’ve seen people catch pelagics in a few feet of water so this can’t always hold true).
The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures …
Over the years Steve stalked the many varieties of fish expanding his knowledge of Tampa Bay. With more than 25 years of saltwater fishing experience tucked his tackle box he began his career doing full time Fishing charters in Tampa Bay.
Captain Steve puts you on the fish. Our recent charter had us catching lot’s of trout, snook, red fish and even a bluefish. One of our snook was over 34″ with several trout over 20″. I have fished in Tampa for over 10 years with…More
Everyone’s favorite bycatch, fishing for Flounder is a year-long festival. This is one species where double digit hook-ups are often considered the norm on a good day. Often joining them on a dinner plate, Pompano is considered a worthy opponent by most veteran fisherfolk. They’re usually scouted along the beaches or near the bridge pilings, depending on the season.
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.
The weather is warming up and the abundance of sunshine makes it ideal for sight fishing. You never know what’s crushing the flats! Look for Jack, Redfish, and Tarpon. Sheepshead is in full swing this month to fill the freezers.
So if you are traveling and want a simplified tackle box that is almost guaranteed to get you some strikes almost anywhere you can go saltwater fishing in the world (without having to haul along your entire garage full of tackle), here are the 7 fishing lures that you need to bring along.
Naturally, Tarpon tops the list for most fly fisherfolk. Most captains recommend using 10-12 weight fly rods, just in case you come across a trophy-sized ‘Poon. If you prefer to use lighter rods, Snook and Seatrout are definitely the go-to species.