2 At Madeira Beach, nearshore there are dogfish around a depth of 30 to 70 feet on live shrimp. The black fin tuna bite is picking up for the pelagic anglers, reports Capt.
4 At Fort De Soto Park, sleepyhead up to 5 pounds are biting around the bridges, the area docks and the marina. At the pier, sleepyhead are on the pilings, but the water is churned up, reports Joe Berlin of Terra Verde Bait and Tackle (727-864-2108).
There’s plenty of snooks, redfish and trout in Terra Can Bay and the mouth of the Manatee River, reports Capt. 6 At Anna Maria, redfish up to 30 inches are up around the docks of Palma Sold and on the west side of the sound around Key Royale.
Good-sizes nook are holding at the Rod and Reel Pier, but they’re finicky on the bite, reports Moore. 7 At St. Petersburg, the gag grouper bite is solid on most structure, around the bridges, the reefs and along the shipping channel.
Redfish have moved real shallow and cut bait on the bottom is producing in the deeper holes on the low tides. 8 In the north end of Tampa, good size sleepyhead are biting on most structure, around the bridges and the reefs in the bay.
• At Homosassa, the offshore gag grouper bite has been good using live pinkish, but cooler water has made the fish sluggish. Live shrimp are the best bait, but soft plastics along the rocky points along the north shorelines will produce, reports Capt.
• At Fort Pierce, lane snapper are biting offshore on the bottom at a depth of 50 to 80 feet. The Melody Lane Pier and the bridge catwalks are producing sand perch, sleepyhead and black drum.
The oyster bars and mangrove edges in the river are also producing sleepyhead, reports the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637). 1 At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, silver trout, sleepyhead, bonnet head sharks and a few mangrove snapper were caught over the weekend.
Sleepyhead are also biting around the pilings, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466). 2 At Madeira Beach, the nearshore dogfish bite is very good in water 30- to 80-feet deep.
Black fin tuna numbers are increasing past 110 feet for the pelagic anglers, reports Capt. 4 At Fort De Soto Park, sleepyhead are thick at the marina and the bridge.
Whiting, silver trout and some pompano are biting in Ounces Pass, reports Capt. Free lined pinkish over shallow structure and the reefs have been producing fish in the 25- to 30-inch range, reports Capt.
The gag grouper bite remains strong around the rock piles and ledges in the 14 to 25-foot range and also deeper along the shipping channel. Both live bait and trolling have been putting keeper gag grouper in the box.
7 At St. Petersburg, gag grouper are biting along the shipping channel from Port Manatee to the Skyway and on the artificial reefs in the bay. Pinellas Point is good for trout on the deeper grass flats and cuts.
Weldon Island is still holding some shook and good numbers of redfish, trout and sleepyhead, reports Mastery’s Tackle (727-896-8889). 8 In the north end of Tampa, sleepyhead have moved in thick on most structure, the reefs and around the bridges.
A few redfish are biting around the Andy and Weldon Island area, but there’s better numbers in the upper bay. Some cobias is biting around the markers and areas with warm water runoff, reports Andy Bait & Tackle (813-839-5551).
Fresh dead or live shrimp are the best bait and if the grass porgies starting biting, it's time to move to a new spot, reports Capt. • At Fort Pierce, the offshore bottom bite at 80 feet is steady for lane snapper with a few buttons and mangroves mixed in.
Spanish mackerel are biting in 30 feet of water to the north around the Very Cove. Sleepyhead, black drum and sand perch are active inside the inlet and around the bridges, reports Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637).
There’s a good chance angler Jay Cross has spent more time on the Skyway Fishing Piers than anyone else over the past few years. Over the past few weeks Cross has seen quite a few big gags coming over the rails of the fishing pier.
In addition to smaller grouper, Cross, and his friends who frequently fish the pier known as the Skyway Misfits Crew, enjoy playing tug of war with the bigger Goliath that now frequent the pier. He makes 400-pound wire leaders that are 10-feet long, giving the abrasiveness needed against massive sharks like bulls and hammerheads they target.
On a recent night, Cross’s friend Jake Covington borrowed one of his leaders, but found himself tangled up to another one of the bridge’s Goliath. Cross, who was working at the time, closed up the bait shop and went to assist the release of the massive Goliath grouper.
“We have a rope that we used to pull in big sharks up to 400 pounds on the bridge to release them. In a scene that looked like it was from the movie “Mission: Impossible,” Cross dangles from the rope around his waist with pliers in hand.
The fish kicks away, and Cross is pulled back to the bridge. I knew with that long heavy leader it probably would have gotten tangled up in the structure and died.
Normally, we don’t use that tackle on Goliath so it presented the problem when it ate the shark bait.” When targeting Goliath, Cross uses a 900H Diana on a broomstick-esque rod allowing him to winch them up.
He pinches the barb down on those hooks, allowing an easier release on the Goliath he’s landed up to 300 pounds. Be aware that the air temperature on the water is cooler than on land as a rule, because of wind.
Much of this week has seen a warming trend coming off last weekend’s cold front and breezy conditions. Monday and Tuesday anglers saw some decent weather with lighter winds and wave action.
For those anglers getting out to nearshore waters ranging from 30-to 60-feet, some good action with mangrove snapper, dogfish, and gag grouper was had. Watching the bottom machine for suspended schools of bait have produced some nice pinkish.
Some artificial reefs off Sarasota and Bradenton are producing gag grouper and mangrove snapper. Triple tail have been caught off swim buoys, channel markers, and just about any floating object in the Gulf.
Rick Grasses, who fishes out of CB Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key has been targeting triple tail for his anglers when conditions allow, and fishing fly and also spinning tackle using CAL Jigs, and DOA Shrimp. Grasses’s anglers are also catching bluefish and some Spanish mackerel along the coastal Gulf as well.
It produces more scent and entices fish that are lethargic in the cooler water temperatures. Denny Clovis of Sarasota with a triple tail caught on a DOA Shrimp while fishing with Capt.
Triple tail come inside bays and hang on channel and range markers. Speckled trout have begun schooling, and with Tuesday’s new moon low tides you can expect to hit the potholes and channel edges and find good numbers of specks.
It’s all catch and release from the Hernando/ Pasco County line and south here in the West Central Region for shook, trout, and redfish so handle these fish gently and get them back in the water quickly. They can be somewhat lethargic but on a warm sunny day on a dark mud flat, these fish and most all others tend to fight harder than they do in the summer with the higher oxygen levels in the water.
When using live bait, use in-line circle hooks to reduce gut-hooking and to make release easier with lower mortality. Suspending lures that can be fished shallow, like the Mirror 17MRPIN Mirroring or Catch 2000 can be very good.
Small jerk baits like the Mirror Little’ John and Bunker City Lure’s Slimy Slugs or CAL Jerk baits rigged Texas style on worm hooks or on light jig heads can be deadly. Spinner baits have produced some excellent action on area lakes and ponds for bass in the 2-to 5-pound range.
Lake Tarpon has been pretty good for anglers drift fishing while looking to locate schools of these speckled perch. Most are using live Missouri minnows but some prefer small crappie jigs like the Hal Fly, Beetle Spin, or Blakemore Roadrunner.