Posts Tagged ‘Redfish’
Spring is in the air and the fish are enjoying the weather as much as we are. March brought some warmer than normal weather, and I loved every bit of it. The white bait moved in and with it followed the spanish mackerel. The Trout bite continues to be off the hook and will stays that way through this month. Some snook (not like the old days) have poked their heads out and are in their normal spring spots. I’m still waiting for the redfish bite to turn on in our region. Smaller ones are being caught, but I’m looking for some upper slot fish.
Snook season remains closed until September but if you decide to target them (I prefer not to), please handle each fish with extreme care. Some fish have started to show up in their springtime areas, but the numbers are not what they used to be. Although the numbers are down, we have been seeing some good fish and it has been encouraging. I suggest we try our best to leave these fish be for a while and let them get through the spawning season with as little stress as possible. The FWC will revisit the issue in September whether to reopen season.
The trout fishing has been off the hook all winter and should continue right into spring. We are starting to see some bigger fish move into some of the grass flats around Cockroach Bay and Joe Island. Top water plug early in the morning is some of the most fun action you can have. Zara Super Spook in a chartreuse or bone color is my choice. With a top water plug, you can cover plenty of ground and work as many schools of mullet as you can find. You may also run into a redfish or snook with this technique. As the sun comes up, I like to switch to a soft plastic. I like the Berkley Gulp! jerk shad rigged with a Daiichi Butt Dragger weedless hook. Colors I like are new penny and electric chicken. Trout are a good species to experiment with. Try different colors and see what works best for you.
The redfish bite continues to stump me. We are running into plenty of small fish in the 14”-16” range but haven’t seen the big push of the upper slot fish make their way into our region. The key here is to be persistent. Areas around Simmons Park and Joe Island should be holding fish. On the higher tides, fish the mangroves, oyster bars, and schools of mullet. On the lower tides, fish pot holes, nature channels, and the edges of the flats. Cut bait is hard for a redfish to turn down. The only downside is you can’t cover much ground. Soft plastic rigged weedless will do the trick. You cover a lot of ground and can easily work the pot holes and schools of mullet. D.O.A makes a great soft plastic. The CAL Shad comes in a wide variety of colors.
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The warmer temperatures have brought plenty of spanish mackerel. Most of the artificial reefs, ship channels, and markers will hold fish. Plenty of whitebait is a must to keep the fish interested. Not far behind are the bigger cousins, king mackerel. The skyway will hold plenty of bait so the kingfish will be around looking for an easy meal. Look for early season Tarpon to show up around the bridges. It getting that time of year and we should start to see the big push of migrating fish from the south.
March is finally upon us. Let’s all put winter behind us and welcome spring with open arms. We will see less fronts, longer days, and warmer waters. As the bait makes its way in the bay, get ready and hang on. We should be in store for another off the hook spring. Most of our inshore species will be in the transitional stage coming out of their winter time patterns. The pelagic species will be following the schools of bait.
Trout season should still be going strong. February had some good days and some slow days. The trout I have been fishing seem to be on the move. One day you can be fishing a school of 100 fish, the next day, nothing. The key is to keep moving to locate the fish. The best way to locate fish is to use artificial baits. A D.O.A CAL with 1/8 ounce jig head will cover a lot of ground. Also Gulp! jerk bait rigged weedless will do the trick. Experiment with color. If you have a favorite color and are catching a good amount, try a color you wouldn’t normally use. You may be surprised by the results. Live shrimp still is hard to beat. 20-25lb Berkley Fluorocarbon leader with a #1 Daiichi circle hook is an ideal rig.
The mackerel started to show up the last month. Look for it to get better as more bait pushes into our region. The spanish mackerel bite last year was outstanding. I’m not sure if it was any better than years past, but I know for a fact I fished for and caught more mackerel than I ever have. With the snook bite being nonexistent, the spanish mackerel made up for it. They are good fighters on light tackle and also have decent table fair if cared for properly. Make sure you put them on ice right away and eat them fresh. The usual spots will hold fish…Skyway Bridge, ship channel, artificial reefs, range markers and any hard bottom. Live white bait (if available) is bait of choice but shrimp will work.
Redfish should start to get more consistent this month. We have been catching plenty of rat reds but anything bigger has been tough to come by in our region. On low tides, fish the potholes. I know you have heard this before but it works. When you are talking about a difference in a few inches, in relative terms, that’s a huge change in depths. It’s a numbers game for me. The more potholes I work, the more my odds go up. I prefer artificial when searching the potholes. You can cover a lot of ground fast. I have been experimenting with colors and Gulp! 4” jerk bait in Nuclear Chicken has been producing well. New Penny and Natural are always go to colors. I like to rig them weedless with a 4/0 Daiichi Butt Dragger weighted hook.
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We all know that snook season will NOT open this month. It was set to open, but with the emergency closure it will remain closed until after the spawn in September. If you do target them, please handle each fish with extreme care. Sheepshead bite should continue to be good throughout the month. Look for early season king mackerel around the Skyway and adjacent ship channel. Don’t be surprised to see some early season tarpon show around the bridge. Whitebait and threadfins should start to show up at the bridges and piers soon, so get that bait net and livewell ready!
Mother Nature has treated us kindly the past month. We had some colder than normal days, but the days have been limited. Let’s all hope that February is the same. Not much will change from last month as long as the weather stays normal. Trout and Sheepshead will highlight Tampa fishing charters this month. The power plant will play a big roll if temperatures drop.
Trout will still be the headline for Tampa fishing charters this month. Season will remain open with a limit of 4 per angler, 15”-20” with one allowed over 20”. Fish the deeper grass flats around Joe Island and Cockroach Bay. Also try the many residential canals from Little Manatee to Apollo Beach. A live shrimp under a cork will be hard to beat. When fishing the flats, I use 18” of 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader with a #1 Daiichi circle hook under a cork. When fishing around docks, try using a split shot to keep the bait on the bottom.
The sheepshead bite was good last month and will continue to get better this month. While they prepare to spawn, they will be more willing to bite. Fish will hold around most rock piles, reefs, ledges, and docks. Shrimp are my bait of choice just because they are easy to get. Fiddler crabs and green mussel will also work great. A split shot or jig head will get the bait into the strike zone. Be quick because sheepshead are known to be thieves. There is a minimum length of 12” and a bag limit of 15.
It’s probably not the best time of year to fish redfish but there are still some fish to be caught. There won’t be the big schools roaming the flats, but there will be singles hanging in potholes. Joe Island is a good place to start. The area has plenty of grass flats with potholes. With the tides not getting very high, these fish will hold in potholes that may be only a few inches deeper than the surrounding flats. Work as many potholes as you can and you will be sure to score a few slot fish. The Alafia and Little Manatee River will have plenty of Rat Reds. They are great for kids and when you find one, others will soon follow.
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If temperatures get cold, look for the Apollo Beach power plant to hold fish. The power plant uses the bay’s cold water to cool their systems and discharges warm water. The water around the outflow is around 75 degrees. This warm water attracts almost everything that swims…Snook, redfish, trout, cobia, sharks, permit, pompano, jacks and the list goes on. Be sure to obey the manatee zones and the no entry zones. The FWC does patrol the area and will issue tickets. Be safe and catch’em up.
Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a happy Holiday Season and I hope the New Year brings tight lines and smiling faces. December didn’t start out the way we would all like. With colder than normal temperatures, it made fishing very challenging. Let’s all hope that Mother Nature gives us a break from the cold for the New Year. January can be a tough bite. Getting an early start is not necessary. Starting in the afternoon gives the sun time to heat the flats up. So get your beauty rest and enjoy.
Trout will be the headline for fishing Tampa Bay this month. If you are looking to take some fish home or just have some catch and release fun, January can be productive if the weather cooperates. Season is set to open in our region this month with a limit of 4 per angler, 15”-20” with one allowed over 20”. Try grass flats from Joe Island to Simmons Park. As the grass flats warm up, the bigger trout will move shallower. A live shrimp under a cork will be hard for a trout to turn down. I use 18” of 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader with a #1 Daiichi circle hook under a cork. Trout are not picky when it comes to artificial baits, so now is the time to pull out the tackle bag and experiment. I like soft plastics like Berkley Gulp! shrimp or D.O.A.Cal jerk baits. I rig them weedless with a Daiichi 5/0 Butt Dragger weighted hook. Experiment and find out what works best for you.
The sheepshead bite should be good this month and continue for the next couple of months. They are preparing for their annual spawn and will be willing to eat. Rock piles, reefs, ledges, and docks should hold fish. Try some of the artificial reefs while fishing the Tampa Bay region like Bahia Beach or the Port Manatee reef. Shrimp are my bait of choice. I like to use jig head heavy enough to get the bait down. There is a minimum length of 12” and a bag limit of 15 but only keep what you are going to eat and save the rest to catch another day.
The power plant in Apollo Beach has plenty to offer this time of year. Snook, redfish, trout, cobia, sharks, permit, pompano, jacks and the list goes on. The power plant discharges warm water which stays around 75 degrees. This area attracts many different species of fish, but it also attracts the human species. It can get crowded on the beach so remember to be courteous of others. Also be on the lookout for manatees. They will be using the waters to stay warm.
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January has plenty of negative low tides, so it is a great month to scout new areas. Finding new cuts, troughs, holes, and oyster bars during low tide will be great areas to try when the tide is high. Be on the lookout for silver trout. We should see some fish in our region around the Alafia River and down town. Flounder, usually an afterthought, should be willing to take a shrimp or a soft plastic dragged on hard or sandy bottom. To a happy and health New Year!
To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813-732-5971.
We are in the full swing of the holiday season. Thanksgiving just passed and Christmas is right around the corner. That means we are at the end of the year. It’s time to look back and reflect on what 2010 has brought us. We are going to put 2010’s offerings behind us and look forward to a new year and a new start. We already have good news to end the year. NOAA is predicting a warmer and drier winter for Tampa Bay thanks to La Nina. If predictions hold true, we are in store for a very fun and productive few months.
Redfish are not affected by the cooler water temperatures as much, making them a winter time favorite. Areas from Cockroach Bay to the Alafia will hold fish. With sardines getting harder to find as temperatures fall, live shrimp is a good alternative. I like the trusty cork with 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a #1 Daiichi circle hook. Winter fishing is a good opportunity to refine your artificial skills. Spoons, soft plastics and hard baits will produce. As the water temperatures drop, the key is to slow your approach.
Season will remain closed all month, but trout will still offer some nice catch and release. Start the morning off with a top water plug. I like the Zara Spook in a bone color. When the bite slows, I switch to a soft plastic. I like the D.O.A 4” jerk bait. For trout, I like anything white. I like to rig weedless with a 5/0 Daiichi Butt Dragger. It’s a weighted weedless hook. Fish the flats from Joe Island up to the Little Manatee River. Remember, season will remain closed in the Tampa Bay region so try to handle the fish as little as possible and use a dehooker.
This is the time of year us inshore guys look forward to. The grouper have started to make their way inside the bay, making it possible for us to get some grocories. Trolling the ship channel may not be the most fun, but it is definitely the most productive. Manns stretch 30 is a popular plug to troll with. A #4 planner with a white buck tail jig will also produce. If trolling is not your thing, live pinfish, frozen sardines, and squid are sure to score some keepers. There are still some rumblings about grouper closures so keep a look out for any changes.
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When temperatures really start to get cold, look to our power plant to be a refuge for many different species. The warm water discharge will attract a wide variety of species and people….Sharks, Cobia, Snook, Pompano, Jack’s and many more. Just remember to be courteous of other boaters and the anglers fishing from shore. I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and a safe New Year!
To book a Tampa Fishing Charter with Tampa fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com
Fall is in the air… Well almost. September is here and we are just around the corner from fall. We should start to get some relief from the summer’s heat and see water temperatures fall. Usually, September means gearing up for one of Tampa Bay’s most revered species, Mr. Snook…Not likely this year. Most likely it will be catch and release only. No need to worry, Tampa Bay fishing charters this time of year offers plenty of catch and release options. If filling the cooler is your thing, you have options too.
It’s that time of year for the Tampa Bay redfish. We will see some pre-spawn schools feeding to prepare for the spawn. Spawning season usually runs in the Tampa Bay area from August through November with this month being the peak of the season. It’s not likely that the past winter freeze will have an effect on the timing, but keep that in mind. If your spot held fish last year and not this year, check back in a couple weeks. They might be late. I prefer cut bait over live 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 Daiichicircle hook. The Tampa Bay fishing in our region from the Kitchen to Joe Island will hold redfish. Tampa Bay fishing charters have had some very nice days catching redfish.
Tampa fishing charters for trout has been one of the best years I have seen in a long time. Last month was another good month, and I am looking forward to it continuing through the year. With water temperatures hovering around 90, continue to fish any grass flat in the 4ft-7ft range with good tidal movement and a good source of bait. As temperatures fall, move to some of the shallow flats with good potholes and depth changes. Trout aren’t picky eaters. They will take almost anything. Scaled sardines (green backs) are my go to bait. I fish a 24” 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a #1 Daiichi circle hook under a weighted cork. The weighted cork will help get the casting distance with lighter baits. If artificial is your game, 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 season was set to open September 1st but the FWC has extended the emergency closure through September 17th. They will be holding a meeting in Pensacola Beach at the beginning of the month to review all of the information and then decide whether to reopen the harvest. I have had discussions with other captains and anglers about the closure and the consensus is to keep season closed, maybe through the next spawning season. Our region got hit hard and these fish need time to recover. Our region is holding decent snook but not like it did in the past. If you do target these fish, handle them as careful and as little as possible. This will ensure that the ones that survived will survive your catch.
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The mackerel bite has been good all summer. The bite has tapered off a little last month but should pick back up as water temperatures cool. Any of our region’s ship channels and range makers will hold fish. 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 do the trick. 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.
Captain Will Shook is a full-time captain. To book a Tampa fishing charters with Tampa fishing guide Capt Will shook, call 813-732-5971 or visit
The Tampa Bay redfish and trout bite continue to keep anglers happy and rods bent. The redfish bite continues to be hot and will continue through the end of the year. The Tampa Bay redfish continue to school up preparing to spawn and are willing to eat most baits. Take a look at one of my latest Tampa fishing charters. Follow the link to my You Tube video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtWRJ7shVs8
The Tampa Bay trout bite has been good all year and will continue to get better as waters cool. We have been fishing Tampa Bay’s deeper grass flats to escape the warmer waters and have had some great days. The Tampa Bay trout have been eating scaled sardine (aka. green backs) on a #1 Daiichi circle hook, 18” Berkley Trilene Fluorocarbon leader and a popping cork. Fishing Tampa Bay for trout can be loads of fun for the whole family. The action is steady and they also offer excellent table fair. They are one of my favorite fish to fry. The picture is of the Garcia family with a 24” trout caught while fishing with Tampa Bay fishing guide Capt. Will Shook. To book a Tampa Bay fishing charter call Tampa fishing guide Capt. Will Shook 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@live.com
The Tampa Bay charter fishing for redfish starts to heat up. Redfish start to spawn in August and continue through November. Redfish will school up and feed heavily to prepare to spawn. Tampa Bay fishing offers a variety of redfish schools and they are eating. We are fishing these schools of redfish in water no deeper than 4 feet making it easy to sight fish them. Schools of redfish range from 10 fish to a couple hundred fish. Seeing the lager schools is an awesome sight. Watching a couple hundred redfish that range 8-15lbs in 3 feet of water is something everyone should experience. I have had some great Tampa Bay charters my last few trips with multiple redfish landed. Some of the schools have been holding some oversize fish. Here is a picture of a client on a Tampa fishing charter with an oversize redfish that measured 35” and weighed over 14lbs. The redfish size limit for Tampa Bay and all of Florida, is 18”-27”. Redfish have no closed season and have a bag limit of 1 redfish per angler. The offer excellent table fair with blackened being my favorite. To book a Tampa Bay fishing charter call Tampa Bay fishing guide Will Shook 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWilliam@Live.com
Spring has sprung. With all of the cold weather behind us, the fishing charters in Tampa have been awesome. You name it and
it is chewing. Water temperatures are starting to get back to normal. The bait has made its way into Tampa Bay and so have the pelagic fish. King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel have been the hot topic. These species make their way up our coast following the bait and make Tampa Bay a stop on their migration move. They are exciting to catch with big bursts of drag screaming fun. Great for kids, nonstop action and easy to catch. They also make for good table fair. Blackened Spanish Mackerel is hard to beat. The Redfish and Trout bite continue to be off the hook. Sounds like a broken record but we are having numerous days with multiple over size fish and a few keepers. These fish are getting a lot of pressure so the key is to stay as far away as possible and bring the school to you with chum. Picture of a young angler with a 34” Redfish caught on a Tampa fishing charter. To book a charter with Capt Will Shook call, 813-732-5971
It’s that time of year for us in Tampa Bay and I have been busy. I finally have a little break to leave a report. Fishing has been on fire. The bait has started to show up around our area bridges and so have the fish. The Spanish Mackerel have invaded our area with vengeance. We are catching good numbers of mackerel using live scaled sardine (aka greenbacks) on a 40 lb Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon leader and a long shank hook. Spanish mackerel have razor sharp teeth and can easily cut through any leader. I like using the long shank hooks because it helps reduce cut offs. The Trout and Redfish bite has been awesome. The key to catching good numbers is bait. Make sure you have a livewell full of scaled sardines and you are sure to have a good day. We are fishing a school that is producing a good amount of keepers and oversized fish. Our limits on Redfish in Tampa Bay are 18″-27″. It’s not uncommon to catch more over slot fish than keepers. It’s a good problem to have, if you ask me. While fishing the Redfish schools, we are running into some good Trout. I had a client hook what I thought was a Snook but to my surprise, it was a monster 28″ Trout. A Trout that size in Tampa Bay is a trophy size fish. Most Trout caught in Tampa Bay are between the sizes of 15″-22″. It was nice to see a Trout that size and that healthy. It’s a good sign for the Trout species in the Tampa Bay area. Tarpon have started to show up. Stayed tuned for a report.