Posts Tagged ‘Snook’

Tampa Fishing Charters New Boat!

Hey folks! I finally got my new boat on Friday 10/5/12. So now, you all will be fishing aboard Miss Mae, my new 23′ custom built Aeon Marine boat. She has a custom built half tower with a little shade to offer some relief from our Tampa Bay sun. She has all new electronics and safety gear to assure a comfortable and safe Tampa fishing charter with me, Tampa Bay fishing guide, Captain Will Shook.

Tampa Bay fishing guide

Miss Mae

The fishing has been on fire my last couple of Tampa fishing charters. The redfish bite has been hot and should stay hot throughout the next few months. I have been fishing the schools of mullet using cut bait. I use a 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.

The spanish mackerel bite has been heating up. I fished a few miles of St. Pete Beach and ran into a giant school of mackerel. I have been using a 2/0 Eagle Claw long shank hook with a 40lb Berkley mono leader. The long shank hooks help reduce cut-offs. Look for the King mackerel to start moving into our area as the water temperatures drop.

The Tampa Bay fishing trout and snook bite will continue to heat up as we go through the month.

If you want to book a Tampa Bay fishing charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide Capt. Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or email me at

Tampa Bay Redfish and Trout Fishing

CaptainWillShook@gmail.com.

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Tampa Bay October Fishing Forecast

Fall is in the air.  Well, at least what we in Tampa, Florida call Fall.  That means shorter days and slightly cooler temperatures.  As we move through the month, the days get shorter and water temperatures begin to drop.  We will also start to see some mild cold fronts push through, cooling water temperatures. If you haven’t noticed, the common theme this month is water temperature.  Fish don’t have a calendar to notify them of the changing months. Therefore, they rely on the change in the water temperature.  Our temperatures will start to fall into the 70’s signaling to the fish that winter is approaching.  This means they will begin feeding heavily and packing on the weight for the approaching winter.

Redfish

Tampa fishing guides for redfish were the hot target last month and will continue to be the hot target this month.  The bite has been outstanding in most all areas of Tampa Bay.  In our region, the same holds true.  The water clarity in our region hasn’t been the best, so sight casting schools of fish has been tough.  I have gone back to the basics…find the mullet and you are sure to find some redfish.  It will take some patience and work, but it will pay off.  Cut bait seems to be the best bait, and I prefer pinfish or threadfins.  Fish it free lined on 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.

Tampa Bay fishing guide

Dinner Time

Snook

Tampa fishing charters snook season will remain closed until August 2013.  Catch and release action will heat up this month. The last few weeks of September were a little slow.  I believe they are in a transition period, but when the fish settle down and get prepared for the coming months, the bite should go off.  Our region is a great snook fishery.  It has plenty of estuaries you look for when snook fishing…good tidal flow, ambush points, mangroves, and plenty of food.  If you put all of these things together, you have a recipe for a perfect snook habitat.  I prefer live green backs fished free lined with a 30lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.  If the live bait bite is not working and you know fish are there, try cut bait.

Trout

Tampa Bay trout fishing has slowed a little on the South Shore, but as temperatures cool, look for the bite to pickup.  We are getting into those months when you go out and target that trophy size fish.  As the water temps cool, the bigger fish will move onto the flats in search of food. I like working the potholes on the low, incoming tides.  Live or cut bait will work fished free lined with a 25lb Ohero fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook.  If artificial is your game, now is the time to work on the skills.  Trout are not too picky, so they are a good species to use artificials on.  Topwater plugs are a favorite of mine. Seeing a big trout explode on a topwater plug is exciting.  I usually fish them early in the morning and switch to a soft plastic jerk bait later in the day.

Best of the Rest

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 spanish mackerel, long shank hook and 40lb 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.  Blue fish will also be hanging around with the macks.  Use the same setup as you use for mackerel fishing.

To book a charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide, Capt. Will Shook, call 813.732.5971 or visit

TampaFLFishingCharters.com

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August Report

August poses many challenges, but with planning and preparation you can have a successful month. The key is to get out early and get off the water before it gets too hot or before the thunderstorms come rolling through. I like to target snook, redfish, and trout early in the morning. Then, as water temperatures heat up, I move to deeper water and target mackerel, mangrove snapper, and sharks.

SharksFishing guide Tampa FL

Tampa Bay offers great shark fishing for black tips, bulls, and hammerheads. The key is to find areas that hold mackerel, and you are sure to find sharks. I like to use a Penn Senator 112H with 80lb fluorocarbon leader, 110lb steel bite tip, and a 7/0 Daiichi Circle hook. My favorite bait is a fresh cut spanish mackerel head fished on the bottom. Areas around the Skyway, Port Manatee, and the artificial reefs should hold sharks.

Spanish mackerel

The mackerel bite should continue to stay consistent through August. The ship channel, artificial reefs, and range markers should hold fish. A long shank hook with a 40lb leader is an ideal set up. You can try steel leader, but if you are not getting the bites, switch to mono or fluorocarbon leader. Live scaled sardines (green backs) are the bait of choice. Table fair is very good if cared for properly. Ice down your catch as soon as possible to ensure the fillets don’t get mushy. Smoked or blackened is hard to beat.

Redfish

The redfish bite was good last month in our region. The key is to have a high tide and to fish the mangroves. This month should continue. Live scaled sardines or cut threadfins are the baits of choice. Work the mangroves on high tides and you are sure to find some fish cruising through. Another favorite technique is to work the schools of mullet. Most game fish will work in with the mullet schools looking for baits that the mullets stir up. Areas around Simmons Park to Cockroach Bay will produce fish.

Best of the Rest

Snook will start to move around a lot this month as they come off their spawn. The flats around Joe Island and Cockroach Bay should start to hold snook. Remember that season is CLOSED, so handle each fish with care. Mangrove snapper fishing has been a little off, but we should see fish around the ship channels and artificial reefs. The key is to have plenty of small scaled sardines to chum the snapper up off the reef or wreck. Look for some late season tarpon action as our resident fish start to move up into the bay.

To Book a Charter call captain Will Shook 813.732.5971 or email CaptainWillShook@gmail.com

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February Report

February is upon us and that means spring is just around the corner. It looks like we may get through the winter without a major freeze which is good for our snook population. The warm weather we have been having has been nice but has made things a little inconsistent fishing Tampa Bay. The trout bite should get better as water temperatures drop. Redfish can be found on lower tides fishing the potholes on our area flats. Sheepshead will continue to invade our areas wrecks, reefs and rock piles.

Sheepshead

The sheepshead bite has been good and should continue to be good this month. As they prepare to spawn, they will continue to school up around our wrecks, artificial reefs and rock piles in the bay. Fiddler crabs and shrimp are good baits. I like to fish as light of tackle as possible. I fish a 25lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader. I either us a 1/2 ounce jig head or a knocker rig to get the baits down.  Sheepshead offer excellent table fair with a lenient bag limit of 15 per angler which make them a winter time favorite.

Trout

The trout bite has been a little funny to say the least. The warm weather we have been having has made it hard to locate quality fish.  Areas that seem to hold fish during the winter months are holding fish but not like usual. That doesn’t mean to quit looking. If we continue to get warm weather we may need to start looking at our spring time areas. I like to start the morning off with a topwater plug like the Super Spook in a bone color. As the sun gets higher in the sky, I switch to a soft plastic lure like the D.O.A. CAL Shad in a white with a 1/8 to a 1/4 ounce jig head.

Redfish

Tampa Bay fishing charters

Tampa Fishing Charters

If you have a kayak, a boat that can get super skinny or like to wade-fish, then you should love this time of year. With our negative low tides, fishing the potholes has been producing some nice redfish. Getting to the potholes is the challenging part. Shrimp on a jig head or a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook with a split shot will do for the live stuff. If you like to throw artificial, you have a wide variety. When working potholes, the D.O.A. shrimp is hard to beat. The key is to not over work the bait.

Best of the Rest

The warm weather has started up the snook bite. If the warm weather continues, look for the snook to be moving toward the mouth of the rivers in our area. If temperatures get to normal and water temperatures drop, look to fish the TECO power plant runoff. The variety of species this area holds is amazing. Snook, redfish, trout, shark, pompano, permit…the list goes on.

To book a Tampa fishing charter with Tampa Bay fishing guide Captain Will Shook call, 813-732-5971 or email CaptainWillShook@gmail.com

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January Fishing Report

Happy New Year!  Hopefully everyone had a Merry Christmas.  December was warmer than normal and the bite in our region has been great.  Snook, redfish, trout, and flounder have been the headline species.  If the warm trend continues, look to continue to target these species all month.  When temperatures get back to normal, it will be time to switch to your winter time tactics.

Trout

Trout season will officially open this month and with the new FWC rules, it will stay open all year.  The regulations are still 15”-20” with 4 fish per angler.  The trout fishery in Tampa Bay has been phenomenal and our region has a lot of areas to target them.  From the Alafia River all the way down to Joe Island, the area will hold plenty of trout.  Live shrimp or artificial will work.

Tampa fishing charters

Tampa Bay Trout Fishing

Fish the shrimp under a popping cork with a 20lb Berkley fluorocarbon leader and a 1/0 Daiichi Circle hook.  For artificial lures, use any soft plastic jerk bait or swim shad on a 1/8 or 1/4 ounce jig head.  As far as colors, I prefer white and nuclear chicken.

Sheepshead

The sheepshead bite should heat up all month long.  They will be schooling up around our region’s artificial reefs, wrecks, and rock piles preparing to spawn.  Shrimp is usually the easiest bait to get, but if you can get your hands on some Asian green muscles or sand fleas you are sure to have a great time. The bite on a sheepshead is very subtle, so you have to almost anticipate the bite.  I like to use a 1/2 or 3/4 ounce jig head to get the baits down.  I also use a knocker rig with a #1 Daichii circle hook.

Power Pant

The TECO power plant in our region has plenty to offer this time of year.  The hot water runoff from the power plant keeps the waters in the area around 75 degrees.  The warm temperatures attract many different species…Snook, redfish, trout, pompano, permit, cobia, sharks, and the lists go on.  It can also get crowded with beach-fishermen.  Just bring along some common sense and be courteous of others. Also, the manatees will use this area to survive the winter, so be on the lookout and follow all the signs for slow zones.

Best of the rest

If the warm weather continues, look for the snook and redfish bite to continue to stay hot.  Fishing all of our area river systems will reward you with some nice trophy size fish.  The flounder bite continues to surprise me.  I have caught more flounder this year than the last three years combined.  Fish any sand or hard bottom and you are sure to find some flounder.  A shrimp fished on the bottom with a jig head or split shot will produce good fish.

To book a Tampa fishing charter, call Captain Will Shook 813.732.5971 or email CaptainWillShook@gmail.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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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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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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May 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.

TarponTampa Fishing Charter

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.

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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April Fishing in Tampa Bay

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.Tampa fishing guide

Snook

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.

Trout

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.

Redfish

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.

Best of the Rest

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.

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