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Sunday, 21 March 2010 17:49

South Tampa Bay Report 03-21-2010

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Carl Spackler's Redfish Carl Spackler's Redfish

After one of the coldest winters I can remember, and I have lived here since 1972, the flats of Tampa Bay are starting to wake up. The water temps are creeping slowly up into the mid 60’s and it won’t be long until the fishing really lets loose. On a trip out with a few friends this weekend I noticed a lot more activity on the flats, lots of small schools of bait fry which is a great sign, even the snook that survived the hard winter have come out of their hiding places. During a recent Catch, Photo, release tournament we had three snook caught, which was very surprising.  Some have estimated out snook loses in the millions, I guess only time will tell.

With the warmer weather, catches are picking up with redfish and trout leading the way. While out this past Saturday with my good friend Dave Robinson, he put on a clinic on how to catch redfish. Using a variety of lures, such as a 1/4oz Gold Johnson Spoon, Exude Gold Dart and Mirrolure’s Mirrominnow he caught around six nice fat redfish. As the tide came in, we switched to a flooded oyster bar and proceeded to catch some really nice trout, biggest going 22 inches.

Daves redfish

If this warming trend will continue, I think it’s going to be a great spring. Reports from the Sky Way fishing piers which span both the North and South sides of Tampa Bay are already starting to pick up. Catches of Spanish Mackerel are increasing which is one of the things I have been waiting for, once they start showing up off the local beaches one of my favorites will be close behind, the King Mackerel.  Their annual migration has been widely discussed this year, many locals feeling the bite will be off the chain due to our bait die off from the cold, I for one hope so. The theory is that with the lack of bait, the kings will more readily hit artificial lures. Our small crew of kayak anglers takes a different approach than most; we choose to stick with artificial lures while targeting Kingfish, trolling lures such a Bomber Long A or other lipped diving bait. The kayak is suited perfectly for trolling these lipped baits. Yes it is a workout, but catching those big smokers on your own terms outweighs the fatigue you feel at the end of the day. On these trips I always keep an extra pole handy for the schools of Bonita’s or False Albacore that cruise the bait schools just off the beach. These fighting footballs are a real handful on lite tackle and a complete blast to catch. My goal this year is catch one on fly.

On a recent business trip down to the Florida Keys, I got turned onto Keys Radio . Not only do they play some great music, but you can catch fishing reports at least three times a day from Key West to Flamingo. It’s a great way to keep in touch with what’s going in South Florida.

Look for a report from Pine Island next weekend, one of my favorite places to fish on the west coast of Florida.


Read 5697 times Last modified on Monday, 22 March 2010 07:52

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