Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Flats fishing is about to hit its peak

Spring fishing is around the corner as the spring migration from the rivers and creeks to the flats and mangrove shorelines starts around the Tampa Bay area. March and April are typically our best months for flats fishing and it's starting to live up to expectations. The snook, redfish and trout fishing has been cranking up in Tampa Bay. The redfish fishing in the bay has been good. Weedon Island, Fourth Street flat and the South Shore are doing great on the end of the outgoing tide and the beginning of the incoming tide around the potholes in the Christmas pass area, and the potholes on the Fourth Street and oyster bars. The baits of choice is a weedless jerk bait or a gold spoon as for fly a crab pattern. Snook are starting to leave the deep water of the creeks and will make their way to the passes and creek mouths over the next few weeks. The south end of Weedon around to the power plant along with big island gap and the rocks at Picnic Island have been holding good snook. The bait of choice is a live sardine or shrimp but as the water warms the top water fishing first thing in the morning is a great way to fish for snook. As the sun rises try switching to a jerk bait or a twitch bait. Warming water means good trout fishing over the grass flats at the end of Weedon Island and Pinellas Point flat in 2-4 feet of water over grass. Use live bait over the next few months, whether it is sardines, pinfish, or shrimp for all of the big three, and cut ladyfish works well for big redfish and snook. I step up my leader size from 20- to 30-pound fluorocarbon with a 2/0 circle hook.

Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at [email protected]

Comments

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Captainís Corner: Topwater plugs a great option as warming trend continues

Warm weather for the past week has led to an increase in feeding activity for inshore fish species. Speckled trout have been venturing out of deep holes and channels and back into shallow water to feed. This has presented a great opportunity to fish ...
Published: 02/10/18
Updated: 02/11/18

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing conditions have started to improve

The waters are still a bit cooler than the kind a bunch of fish like to aggressively chew in. Fishing conditions, however, have slowly but surely begun to improve. On a recon mission Tuesday, I visited both Sunshine Skyway bridge fishing piers and th...
Published: 02/08/18