Archive for 2011

Tampa Redfish Action

Tampa fishing charters for redfish have been good. The redfish has been a little inconsistent this year but we are fishing on some nice schools at the moment. Right before our last cold front the bite really turned on. Redfish are not as affected by the cooler temperatures as other species so this makes them a good fish to target now. We are fishing Tampa’s different flats looking for the mullet.

Tampa Redfish Action

The redfish have been in with the schools of mullet.  Live sardine and cut-bait have been the bait of choice. Free lined on a Berkley 25lb fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is the rig we use. The key is to be quite as you approach a school. With the water clarity and the pressure, the fish are very spooky. Light tackle is a must to get the casting distance you need. The longer the cast the better.

To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa fishing guide Captain Will Shook, call 813.732.5971, email CaptainWillShook@gmail.com or visit TampaFLFishingCharters.com

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Tampa Fishing December Forecast

We are at the end of another great year of fishing. If November is any indication of how the year will end, then we are in store for some warm days. If there aren’t warm days and we get hammered by strong cold fronts, the key is to be flexible. The snook bite was on fire last month and if the warm weather continues, should carry over to this month. The redfish continue to keep us on our toes and are on the move. The trout will continue to keep rods bent with the big “Gator” trout invade the flats of Tampa Bay. Sheepshead will be on the move and making their way into Tampa fishing areas.

Tampa Fishingn Redfish Charters

Tampa Bay Redfish

Snook

The Tampa fishing charters snook bite was on fire last month and if our water temperatures don’t drop too fast, the bite can continue all month. Fishing the areas around our rivers (Little Manatee, Alafia and Hillsborough) will produce snook. The snook move in and around the rivers to get through the cold months. Live scaled sardines are the bait of choice. When temperatures get cold, the snook’s metabolism slows and then it’s time to switch to shrimp. Free lined with a 30lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is a great set up. Artificial baits like the D.O.A shrimp or MirrOlure MirrOdine are great baits. I like natural colors but find out what works for you.

Redfish

The redfish are more tolerant to the colder weather than snook. The bite continues to be inconsistent, but if you continue to work and put the time in, you will find the fish. Winter is a great time to work on your artificial lure skills. A spoon worked slowly over top of grass flats is a good way to work a lot of area fast and locate fish. Soft plastics like D.O.A shrimp, Berkley Gulp! shrimp, and jerk shad are good plastics. Hard baits such as MirrOlure MirrOdine, Zarra Spook, and Super Spook are great. You can pick these up at your local Tampa fishing tackle stores.

Trout

The FWC had a meeting last month and decided to have an open season year round for trout. This does not take effect until next year. Trout season will still be CLOSED in the Tampa fishing area December and will reopen January 1st . We will still have some great catch and release action this month. As temperatures drop, the bigger trout invade our flats. Now is the time to get that “Gator” trout we are all after. On lower tides, work the drop offs and edges of the flats. As the tide comes in, move on the flats and work the potholes. Remember season will remain closed this month. Trout have a protective slime, so use a dehooker to release them.

Best of the Rest

The cooler temperatures will bring the sheepshead into Tampa  Bay fishing areas as they prepare to spawn soon. Rock piles, docks, and artificial reefs will hold fish. Live shrimp or sand fleas will work. If temperatures drop fast and water temperatures get cold, look to fish the TECO power plant. The different amounts of species you can catch are amazing. Cobia, sharks, snook, redfish, pompano… the list goes on. Make sure you pay attention to the no fishing signs. FWC will patrol the area.

To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa fishing guide Captain Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or visit TampaFLFishingCharters.com

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November Fishing Forecast

November means shorter days and cooler temperatures. With our clocks turning back, the days have become shorter and temperatures have fallen. If the weather cooperates, November can be a productive month. Snook have started to move to their winter spots, redfish will be on the flats, although closed in our region, big trout will invade the flats and the mackerel will be around as long as temperatures stay warm.

Redfish

The redfish bite was a good last month and should continue through November. I haven’t seen a lot of schooling fish. The fish we have been catching are in groups of 2-4 fish. On low tides, fish the edge of the flats. As the tide moves in, fish mangrove trees and oyster bars. When looking for a good flat, I look for the schools of mullet. Redfish and other game species like to hang around and feed on anything the mullet stir up. The key is to have a lot of live white bait to chum with. Live whitebait fished on a 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is a great setup.

Snook

Snook season will remain closed but catch and release is still an option. Snook have started to make their move to their winter spots so look at some of the usual stopping points in our area. Tidal flow is important any time you are targeting snook. Target areas where the tide flows with good ambush points. Live scaled sardine (white bait) on a 30lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook free lined is a great snook rig. Remember to handle these fish with extreme care and as little as possible. We need to take care of the ones we have.

Trout

Trout season is set to close this month and remain closed through December if the FWC doesn’t change it. The FWC is asking for input from anglers on whether to have an open season year around for recreational anglers. Check out MyFWC.com for any changes. If season remains closed, catch and release is an option. The big “gator” trout will invade the flats in our region as temperatures continue to drop. Live shrimp or scaled sardines will work great but artificial lures are a lot of fun. It’s hard to beat a big trout crushing a topwater plug. Zara spook in a bone color is my favorite topwater plug. Play around with it and find out what colors and plugs work best for you.

Best of the Rest

We have had a great year for flounder. I like to fish sandy pot holes along any flat. Live shrimp or whitebait fished on the bottom will produce some nice flounder. Spanish mackerel should continue to keep anglers happy. If water temperatures hang around the magic number of 72 degrees, we should continue to have a good bite. Have a rod rigged for kingfish. Grouper will get active in our region. A great starting point is the ship channel. Troll a Manns Stretch 30 plug or a white buck tail jig and you are sure to score some nice gags. Be sure to keep an eye on the grouper changes coming down. Look for sheepshead to start to show up in our region. Most structure will hold sheephead. Dock pilings, rocks, and jetties. I like shrimp on a jig head. As water temperatures cool, more fish will show up.

Captain Will Shook is a full-time captain. To book a charter, call 813-732-5971 or visit

www.TampaFLFishingCharters.com

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October Fishing Forecast

Tampa fishing chartersFall is in full swing and for us that means cooler weather and water temperatures. Water temperatures will start to fall as our days get shorter and we start seeing some mild cold fronts move through. The bait has made its ways into our region and all over the bay. Mackerel, king and spanish, should make a nice showing. Snook will be on the move preparing for winter. Redfish should continue to be active in our region and the trusty ole trout will be there to save a slow day.

Redfish

We had a decent showing of some schools on the Southshore last month. Hopefully they will stay around this month. If you are having a hard time finding schooling fish, go back to the basics. Find the mullet and you’ll find redfish. Live white bait has been the bait of choice. The key is to have plenty of bait to chum.  I have been fishing a 24” 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook under a cork. They will also be willing to eat most cut baits. Pinfish, threadfins, mullet and lady fish are all good choices.

Trout

 Trout fishing in our region has been phenomenal and will continue as temperatures drop. Most all grass flats with bait and tidal flow will hold trout. The key is to move around. These fish move every day and you have to move around to find them. Live white bait fished under a cork will do the trick for the live baiters. Shrimp will also work, but you will have to fight with the pinfish. Trout are easily fooled, so artificial bait is a good alternative. A good bait for beginners is a Berkley Gulp! shrimp fished under a popping cork. Get an  18″ Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon leader, 1/8 ounce jig head, and a cork. Just cast out, pop the cork every couple of seconds, and continue until you get a bite.

King/Spanish Mackerel

The spanish mackerel started to show up in our region late last month and should only get better. Areas around the Skyway and the main ship channel will hold both spanish and king mackerel. A chum block and plenty of live bait to chum with will draw attention from both species. For spainsh, long shank hook and 40lb Berkley Trilene leader should work. If you are getting a lot of cut offs, switch to light steel leader. For the king mackerel, steel leader is almost a must. A 30-40 lb steel leader will work. If you are running into a lot of short strikes, add a stinger rig.

Best of the Rest

We shouldn’t forget about Mr. Snook. Although it will be catch-and-release only, you can still have a good time. Look for snook to be making the move to the flats. Most flats in the south part of our region should hold fish. They will be fattening up for the winter and will be willing to take most baits. Areas with good tidal flow and bait will hold fish. Remember every fish out there is important to the rebuild of the stock so handle each one like it’s the last. If you are looking to just bend rods, look for the pods of glass minnow (bay anchovies) and you will find some bonita. Just toss a live white bait in the middle and hang on.

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September Fishing Forecast

 September is here and we are just around the corner from some cooler weather. We should start to get some relief from the summer’s heat and see water temperatures drop. With the cooling water temps fish will be on the move. Snook will be making their way back to the backcountry, redfish will be schooling to prepare to spawn and we should see the big trout move onto the shallows.

Redfish

We will start to see some pre-spawn schools show up in our region this month. Spawning season usually run from August through November with this month being the peak of the season. Live or cut bait will work. I prefer cut bait.  A cut threadfin, sardine, pinfish or ladyfish will be hard to turn down. If all else fails, go to the old trusty shrimp. I fish a 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook. Areas in our region from the Kitchen to Joe Island will hold redfish. Look for the mullet and the redfish shouldn’t be far behind.Tampa fishing guides

Trout

I sound like a broken record with my trout forecast but they continue to bite. Last month was another good month, and I am looking forward to it continuing through the year. With water temperatures hovering around the high 80’s, continue to fish any grass flat in the 4ft-7ft range with good tidal flow. As temperatures fall, move to the shallow flats with good potholes and depth changes. Small scaled sardines (green backs) are my go to bait. I fish a 24” 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with 1/0 Daiichi circle hook under a weighted cork. Trout is a good species to try out your artificials skills. Top water plugs like the Zara Spook or Mirrolure She Dog are good for an early bite. As temperatures rise, I like Berkley Gulp! Shrimp and D.O.A Cal Shad.

Snook

September usually means we are gearing up for open season. Not this year. FWC had decided to keep season closed until August 2012. This will give the snook in our area a chance to get through a couple spawn seasons. That doesn’t mean you have some catch and release fun. The Southshore region got hit hard but is holding some decent fish. Not like it did in the past but are catching some nice fish. If you do target these fish, handle them with extreme care to ensure a healthy release. Live scaled sardine free-lined is bait of choice. 25-30lb Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook will be good. Fish areas with good tide movement and ambush points.

Best of the Rest

Look for the spanish mackerel to show back up in our region. As water temps cool, the mackerel will follow the bait. A Chum block and lots of live scaled sardines will keep the action lively. A 40lb Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 long shank hook will help with cut offs. If water temperatures cooperate, maybe some early season king mackerel will invade the beaches and maybe make their way into our region. Wire leader is a must for these drag burners. Live sardines, threadfins, and blue runners are the best baits. First spot for early season kings is the Skyway bridge and ship channel.

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Redfish Action!

Our last few Tampa fishing charters have resulted in some nice redfish. Our days are starting to get shorter the redfish have started to show up. All though water temps are still in the mid to upper 80’s redfish don’t mind the warmer weather.

Tampa Redfish

 We are catching some nice fish on live scaled sardines. We have been fishing with a cork due to the size of the bait. The smaller baits are hard to through so using a weighted cork helps you get that extra distance. We are getting redfish ranging from 18″ to a few over 27″. The Tampa fishing charters for trout have continued to stay strong. The bite has been good all summer so look for it to carry over into fall. To book your Tampa Fishing Charters call Capt. Will Shook 813.732.5971 or email CaptainWillShook@Gmail.com

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Trout Bite Continues

Although our water temperatures have reached high 80’s to low 90’s, the Tampa fishing charter trout bite continues to stay strong. The key is to fish deep. Find a deep grass bed in Tampa Bay with good tidal flow

Tampa Trout Fishing Chaters

 and you are sure to run into a few fish. Bait of choice is scaled sardine free lined on a 1/0 Daiichi Circle hook. Tampa FL Fishing Charters had a good trout bite going Friday and guided one of my repeat clients (Jen) to this nice 27″ Tampa Bay Trout. If you want to book a Tampa Fishing Charter, give me a call. 813.732.5971 or email CaptainWillShook@Gmail.com

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Tampa August Fishing Report

Afternoon showers and the high temperatures sometimes make August a tough month to fish. The same pattern holds true from last month. Get out early and target the shallow waters for snook, redfish, and trout. When temperatures start to rise, move deeper and target the mackerel, snapper, and shark. The bait has been an issue in our region. The new hatch of white bait (greenbacks) started to show up at the end of last month.  Look for it to move into the normal areas in our region this month. A ¼ inch net is a must.

Shark

This often overlooked species has been and should stay around all month in our region. They offer good drag pull and are just flat out fun to catch. Sharks follow the food source. Find areas that are holding mackerel, lady fish, and blue fish, and you are sure to run into some sharks. As far as rigs go, I like to use a Penn Senator 113H with 40lb mono. An 80lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader tipped with a 105lb wire and 6/0 Daiichi circle hook will do the trick. Spanish mackerel is my bait of choice. They are extremely bloody and oily. You will run into reef sharks, black tips, nurse, and hammerheads to name a few.

Trout

The trout should continue to stay productive this month. My bait of choice will be the newly hatched whitebait. Areas around Simmons Park to Joe Island will hold fish. Find the deeper grass ranging from 3’-6’ and it should hold plenty of trout. A 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and #1 Daiichi circle to match the small bait will do the trick. Trout are an extremely sensitive fish. Handle each fish as little as possible and use a dehooker tool to remove the hook from the fish you don’t keep.

Redfish

 Look on the flats out front of Simmons Park and the flats south of Cockroach Bay for some schooling fish. Get out early and approach these schools quietly and keep your distance. Live white bait (greenback), cut threadfin, or cut or live pinfish are great baits. As the water temperatures rise, look to fish the mangrove trees. The redfish use the tree’s shade to stay cool. The mangroves all along the Southshore will hold redfish.

Tampa Bay Redfish

  Best of the Rest

Although season is closed, you can still catch and release snook. Look for some post spawn fish to go on the move. They will stage in their normal areas before the move for fall. Remember every fish is important to the recovery so land the fish as quick possible and release it unharmed. There still will be some tarpon hanging around. Look for the fish to move up our region from the Skyway all the way up to downtown.  Cobia will also be hanging around all summer. Be sure to keep a lookout at the range markers as you run the bay. Have a pinfish rigged and ready to go.

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Summer Time!

Its official…summer is here! If you haven’t noticed by the heat, summer officially started last month and time to adjust your fishing techniques. The key is to fish early and be off the water by midday or fish late and be careful of our afternoon storms. Tarpon have held the headlines the last couple of months and will begin to slow down, but you may still have a chance for a late season tarpon in our region. If you are looking for some groceries, mangrove snapper will be willing to join you for dinner. The trusty spanish mackerel will be willing to keep rods bent. Sharks will also be willing to play in the same areas with the mackerel and snapper.

Sharks

The shark fishing in our region is often overlooked but can be very productive, and with temperatures reaching 90, it’s time to think outside the box and target a species that isn’t affected by the heat. Look for sharks in the same areas you target spainsh mackerel. Most artificial reefs, ship channel, and the Skyway Bridge will hold sharks. Heavy conventional or spinning gear is a must. I prefer to use 100lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader, but if I start to get a few cut offs, I’ll switch to steel leader. A 7/0 Daiichi circle hook is strong and will hold up to most fish. As far as bait, almost any species will work, but I prefer spanish mackerel.  

Trout

The trout bite should continue to be strong. The key is to get out early and when temperatures heat up, move to deeper water. With bait being an issue in our region all year, now is a good time to try your skills with artificials. It’s hard to beat the fun and exciting action of top water early. Zara Super Spook in a bone color is one of my favorite baits. As water temperatures warm, move to deeper waters and change to a soft plastic. I prefer a Gulp! jerk shad in the nuclear chicken color rigged weedless with a 4/0 Daiichi Butt Dragger weighted hook.

Snapper

We should see a good push of mangrove snapper start to school up inside our region this month. With the summer spawn in full swing; look for these tasty critters to be willing to play. A 3/8 ounce jig head or a knocker rig should do the trick to get your baits down. 30lb Ohero Fluorocarbon leader should work, but be willing to beef up if you lose some fish. A 1/0 Daiichi circle hook will work great. The small newly hatched scaled sardines will be the bait of choice. A 1/4” mesh cast net will be a must for the small baits. Make sure to net plenty of bait to use as chum. Chum the snapper up off the structure to make for an easier catch.

Best of the Rest

Although most migrating fish will be pushing off, you still have an opportunity for some late season action. Our resident fish will be moving around and staging in areas in our region. The FWC has ruled to keep snook season closed until August 2012, but there is still some good catch and release action to be had. Areas around Apollo Beach to Downtown will be holding some good snook action. Remember every fish is important to the rebuild of the population so handle each fish with extreme care.

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June Fishing Report

Summer is in full effect and your fishing techniques should adapt. With warmer temperatures setting in, it’s time to fish early to avoid the heat and afternoon showers, and fish deeper waters for some relief. Tarpon will still be on the minds of most anglers this month. May showed to be a good month for Tarpon, but June should be better. The Trout bite continues to be outstanding and should continue. Spanish Mackerel will always be there for you to bend rods. Cobias have made a nice showing, so be on the lookout. If shark fishing is your thing, now is the time to do it.

Tarpon

The big bridge is holding some nice fish and will continue this month. Anchor up tide from the bridge and free line some baits back, and you are sure to hook a Silver King. Threadfins, Scaled Sardines, and Pinfish are baits of choice. Be sure to equip yourself with the correct tackle to fight the fish around the structure the bridge offers. I prefer a Penn Battle 7000 with 50lb Ohero braid, 80lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and a 5/0 Daiichi circle hook. If you want to venture out of our region, the gulf beaches will be holding plenty of fish. The important thing here is to be courteous. If you are not familiar with fishing the beach, go and just watch to see how things are done. You can learn a lot from just watching.

Airborne Tarpon

Snook

The Snook spawn will be in full swing this month. There are some areas on the Southshore that will hold fish. This year’s spawn season is as important as any for the Southshore. We lost a lot of fish from the freeze of 2010 in the Southshore area so we are looking for a very successful spawn. If you plan to target these fish, remember they are under extreme stress spawning, so handle them with extreme care and release them quickly. Snook season is closed and will remain closed until September when the FWC will revisit the issue whether to reopen.

Trout

I sound like a broken record, but the Trout bite has been phenomenal all year and should continue. We are catching good numbers and some really nice size fish. Look for these fish to be in the shallows early in the morning then move out to the deeper grass flats as the water temperatures heat up. Our region has a lot of nice deep grass flats with good tidal flow. The trout will hold in these areas to stay cool. So find a good area and give it a try. Scaled Sardines are bait of choice. 25lb Ohero Fluorocarbon with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook is a great setup.

Best of the Rest

If you want to bend rods and have a good time, Spanish Mackerel are the ticket. Great for kids and decent table fare. Most reefs, range markers, and ship channels will hold fish. 2X long shank hooks will help with the cut offs. I prefer a 40lb mono leader over steel. You will get more cut off, but the hook up ratio goes up. Cobia made a good showing last month and should hang around this month. Have a rod ready when you run to your next spot and check the markers as you pass. Pinfish are hard to beat. Shark fishing will be going strong. They migrate with all the pelagic species to our area and are willing to eat anything. I prefer a fresh Mackerel head under a balloon or cork. Be ready for some exciting action!

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