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South Tampa Bay Report 04-19-10

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Well, this past weekend I got some much needed time out on the water.  Starting on Thursday I got out in the evening for some shrimp action. Using a custom made trap, a floating bucket and a headlamp I headed out to wade some flats at the mouth of Tampa Bay. 

The shrimp season will run from now until the end of May, with the Full or New moon periods being the best, as the produce the lowest tides. No real technique, shine your head lamp in ankle to calf deep water, look for the glowing eyes and scoop them up with the trap. Despite a howling wind, I managed to get about 100 medium/large to medium shrimps.

 

Bills_RedfishAfter grabbing a few hours of sleep, I was up bright and early on Friday to chase redfish.  With my buddy Chris running late, I got out on the water first and found some hungry fish.  Using a brand new Exude Cigar Mino in “Chicken on the Chain” color, this hungry red chased it down and nailed it.

The redfish are slowly making the transition from small crabs and shrimp to the limited white bait that has started to show up on the flats. I think in a few weeks when the bait gets a bit bigger and more plentiful, the redfish bite will be off the chain. That is, if they can get any more food in their stomachs, the ones we have been catching lately are stuffed.

Saturday came early as well, and I was off to do a Demo Day for Masthead Sailing gear in St. Pete.  Being sponsored by Malibu Kayaks, I’m always looking to help my local dealers out and the owner Paul Silvernail is a great guy.  We had a decent turnout, with the wind calming down later in the morning making it great Malibu_X-13_Demofor trying out new kayaks.  I test paddled what most likely be my next kayak, the X-13.

I had promised my son Anglerdrew that on Sunday we would get out, so off again bright and early I went. I picked him up and to the beach we headed, target Kingfish.  We were greeted by flat calm seas and very little wind.  There was a small threat of rain, but with no real storms on the horizon we launched.  Our small group of anglers found it more challenging to catch our targeted species by using artificial lures, Kingfish are no exception.  Of course there might be easier ways, but for us it’s very rewarding to catch them trolling lipped baits behind the kayak

From the start it was apparent that maybe the kings had not shown up, despite some of the reports to the contrary. We usually have better luck in the fall; there will be more bait in the water, which brings the kings closer to the beach as they migrate back south.  But you can’t catch them unless you’re out on the water, so off we went.  Joined by my friend Dave and Phinla and a few pesky dolphins, we trolled up and down the beach.  Dave and Phinla (pronounced PeeLa) got into some small Spanish Mackerel throwing Yozri Crystal Minnows.  They seemed to be keyed in on the small lures as my son and I were throwing silver spoons with no success.
Dave_with_a_Mack_onDave_with_Mack_at_the_boatDolphins_surface

A short time later I looked over at Phinla and noticed he was hooked up on his big rod, right away I heard that drag screaming and knew what it was.  A nice 20 lb smoker.

Phinla_hooked_upPhinla_king_surfacePhinla_with_20lb_smoker

Well, that was my weekend.  Back to the old salt mines.  With the coming weeks there has been talk about the transition in feeding habits, especially for the Redfish.  The bait is showing up, the major spot in Tampa Bay for bait is the Sky Way fishing pier. The bait is there in good numbers and once some of that bait breaks away and comes into the bay, the Redfish should switch and catches should pick up.  Trout continue to be strong as well.  As far as snook goes, still too early to tell.  The resident tarpon have moved out of the back country creeks and canals and have moved out to some of the major bridges. I have heard of a few being caught at the Sky Way, but the majority of the migrating fish are still a ways off.  The Kings are reported to be up and down the west coast, from Venice to north of Johns Pass, this should also improve a bit.

Cobia have showed up on the flats, coming out of the power plant out flows.  This is one of the best times to catch them as they usually show up hungry. Like I have said in the past, if our weather continues, it should get better every day.
Thanks for reading along.

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