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  1. Captain's Corner: Reds trickier than trout to catch in shallow water

    Outdoors

    What's hot: During recent trips we found most of the game fish moving back to shallow water. Large schools of redfish and trout are moving into the shallows during the incoming tide. Trout are feeding better than the reds. The high tide is not high enough to make the reds feel safe. When the water is 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep, a cast close to the school will spook the reds. Trout will strike jigs and topwater plugs when the water is shallow. To get the reds to feed, we use tail-hooked shrimp on a 20-pound-test, 4-foot leader. When the school is visible, we peel the shell off the head of the shrimp to put scent in the water. This will not work if the school can't be seen. Pinfish will eat the shrimp before the redfish find it. …

  2. Captain's Corner: Pay attention to tides, wind direction

    Outdoors

    What's hot: Tides and wind directions are vital in March. Extreme low and high tides vary depending on the wind. North winds blow more water out of the bay. South winds push the water level higher than tide charts predict. When your tide chart says low tide will be a minus-7 and the wind is out of the north, the tide might be as low as a minus-11. Northern wind holds up the incoming tide and makes it slower than predicted. Southern wind makes the low tides higher and increases water flow during the incoming tide. …

  3. Landlubber fishing: Align your trip with the tides

    Outdoors

    All anglers, no matter if they are fishing from the bank with a cane pole or trolling from a 41 Luhrs, want to avoid going home empty-handed. That's a given. But there is one ingredient that separates the successful anglers from all the rest — timing. …

  4. Captain's Corner: Baits and tides

    Outdoors

    Bait presentation: Bait presentation is key to being a consistently successful angler no matter which fish is targeted. The more natural the offering appears, the more strikes the bait will get, regardless if it is a tail-hooked live shrimp or a slow-moving artificial crawling across the bottom. If the bait appears unnatural or intrusive, forget it. One way to present your offering in the most natural way is by paying attention to moving water. Use water movement or nonmovement to your advantage. The first step is being able to read a tide chart. Knowing and recognizing the nuances of everyday tidal patterns help greatly in predicting the best time for a specific type of fishing. …

  5. East Bay Fishing Report for June 6

    Sports

    Tide: The summer heat is here and the kids are out of school and wanting to catch some fish. What do you look for? The first thing I look at is the tide chart to see if we have a good tide. Tampa Bay is one of four places in the world where you can have four- tide day, and the best time to fish is often when the tide is coming in or going out.  …

  6. Captain's Corner: Target trout, bluefish

    Outdoors

    What's hot: The best action in lower Tampa Bay continues to be trout and bluefish. Extreme low tides will concentrate the trout and bluefish along the drop-off of a flat. The blues and smaller trout will be in 3-4 feet. The larger trout want to stay closer to the drop-off and in 1-2 feet to avoid dolphin.  …

  7. Captain's Corner: Conditions just about perfect for tarpon

    Outdoors

    What's hot: With water temperatures finally just about right, an early morning tide change and a major solunar period turned on the tarpon bite along our gulf beaches over the weekend. From Clearwater to St. Pete and all the way down to Sarasota, the reports were similar: The tarpon were chewing a variety of baits. All eight we caught Saturday morning were on fresh, dead shad presented on the bottom in front of oncoming schools. Others were throwing live baits; some with greenbacks or small crabs suspended beneath corks, some just fly-lined ahead of the bunches. With ideal weather, kayakers got in on the action, too. We observed a couple of tarpon being caught by those hearty souls off of Anna Maria. …

  8. Captain's Corner: Low water boosts guide's expectations

    Outdoors

    Recent trip: Bruce Roberts and Jim Parnell joined me on a cold, blustery morning. This was only for die-hard fisherman. I saw doubt on their faces. I told them conditions were perfect; it should be one of the greatest redfish trips of the year. …

  9. Captain's Corner: Best time for kids

    Outdoors

    What's hot: What's the best time of day to take the kids fishing? Here are some tips. Look at the tide chart to see if we have any good tides. Tampa Bay can have one, two, three or four tides in a day. Because of the summer heat, plan to fish early in the morning, late in the afternoon or early evening — the coolest times of day. The fish on the flats will move to deeper water. Try areas like Weedon Island, Picnic Island and Simmons Park, all with snook, redfish and trout that will be on and off the flats. Also check out the artificial reefs in the bay for snapper, grouper and Spanish mackerel. …

  10. Captain's Corner: On drum and redfish

    Outdoors

    Drumming the docks: Many rivers and residential canals systems in Tampa Bay are flooded with redfish and black drum of all sizes right now. We have been targeting them with much success fishing docks and from the south shore of Tampa Bay to the upper bay. The redfish have been 15-30 inches and provide consistent action and a tasty dinner. The black drum have been mixed in with their redfish cousins and have been in the 10- to 25-inch range with a few larger schools of 15- to 25-pound fish milling around. …

  11. Captains corner: Low tides bunch trout, grouper at drop-offs

    Outdoors

    What's hot: When the wind blows hard out of the north, the low tide will be lower than normal. Extreme low tides push the fish off the flats and stack them in the deeper parts of the drop-off. Some of these areas will be accessible by land, so anglers can fish without getting their feet wet. One area I used to fish was the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs from the south end of the Misner Bridge south to the rest area for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Most of the fish drop into the channel 15 to 20 feet deep. This area holds trout and grouper. …

  12. Captain's Corner: Monitor weather, tides to determine best winter inshore fishing times

    Outdoors

    Weather watch: Fishing inshore during the winter can be tough because of fluctuating weather and water conditions. Monitor weather conditions and patterns to determine the best days and times to go. Choosing areas protected from heavy wind is key. Residential canals, the lee side of mangrove islands, rivers, creeks, and protected shallow grass flats can be productive spots. Never venture into unprotected waters when conditions are deemed unsafe. …

  13. Captain's Corner: Cold affects fly fishing

    Outdoors

    Repeated cold fronts: This winter has been a test for most local shallow-water fishermen, especially those using a fly rod. Most flats species engulf a shrimp impaled on a hook in front of their nose but don't expend much energy to chase a fly. …

  14. Daily Q&A: What's the best laundry detergent?

    Business

    What's the best laundry detergent? For the latest Consumer Reports lab test, here are the top results: …

  15. Captain's Corner: Stay patient

    Outdoors

    Drastic weather changes and strong wind events typically require a few days for action to improve. Those of us with political fatigue went fishing anyway. Redfish, grouper and a few late-season snook have been the most cooperative. …

  16. Captain's Corner: Work edge of shallow-water flats

    Outdoors

    What's hot: Cooler water triggers shallow-water feeding activity. The more comfortable air temperature means good fishing can occur any time of day. Consult tide charts when planning flats trips. Snook, trout and reds all love moving water to bring food to them. The bothersome floating and suspended grass of summer is dissipating, so it's easier and productive to use artificial baits and flies now. …

  17. Captain's Corner: Tracking tarpon and snook

    Outdoors

    Flyrodding snook and tarpon: Beach fishing for large tarpon has been difficult because of westerly winds. Waves and discolored water make it impossible to see fish in the shallows. Using a fly rod has not been as successful as when conditions are calm. Snook along the beaches have been challenging. But snook and smaller tarpon are available by changing tactics. …