Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Captains Corner: Cold front may bring changes

The cold helps: This year has been warmer than any year I can remember in my 40 years of fishing the bay area. But it might be a good thing we had this cold front come through this past weekend. One of the main target species for a lot of area anglers in February is sheepshead. This is the time of year when the big females come into the bay and spawn. The moon phase has a lot to do with this, but we have not been catching near as many big sheepshead as we normally do at this time. Hopefully the front will move some of the sows in and our catches will improve. We have had a good sheepshead bite lately but most of the fish have been under legal size (12 inches). That's not as bad as it sounds when you consider we get 30 to 40 fish a day when fishing for them.

Trout: Another species that has been cooperative is sea trout. Hopefully this change in conditions will not affect their bite. Like the sheepshead, we have been catching more under-slot fish than keepers (15 to 20 inches) but have had good success catching enough to take home for a fish fry. The fish we have caught have been in the upper slot. Most of them have ranged from 18 to 22 inches. It's as if all the 15- to 18-inch fish are somewhere else or not hungry.

Redfish: The redfish bite was good this past week, but once again, size was an issue. Most fish were under the legal limit (18 to 27 inches) with a few keepers mixed in.

Bait: My best results lately have come from shrimp instead of whitebait. There are plenty of sardines at the bridge, and I have had them in my well on recent trips, but they have not been productive. If your target is snook, you might get better results, but shrimp seems to be best for everything else right now.

Ric Liles fishes out of Tampa, Ruskin, Bradenton and the surrounding areas, and can be reached at (813) 601-2900, via email at [email protected], or at ReelSimpleFishing.com.

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18