Sunday, February 18, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Snook picking up as days gets shorter

Early morning action has been stellar just as the sun is rising. As the bait wakes up, the flat morphs from its still, dark and silky-looking waters to more transparent with these little critters swarming in a cloud of chum. As this occurs, the trout come alive, their strikes audible in every direction as the bait-gathering begins. Recently I have taken clients to experience the "waking up" of the flat. Topwater plugs are deadly this time of day. The smaller ones that walk the dog, in dark colors, have been the most effective. The higher pitch rattle works best around bait schools. Snook have been very cooperative thanks to the shorter days dropping the water temperature enough to get these fish to fire off. Most of the fish have been in the 22- to 26-inch range with the occasional slot fish in the mix. Redfish are getting pretty beat up by the droves of anglers chasing them. Chased fish won't eat. I spend a little time trying to get into position, but if they don't cooperate, I move on. While trout fishing recently, a solid cobia swam through and was caught on a tiny sardine, proving you never know what is going to bite.

Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or [email protected]swiftfishcharters.com.

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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
Captainís Corner: Snook among species starting to flourish as water warms

Captainís Corner: Snook among species starting to flourish as water warms

This has been a cold year thus far as fronts have blasted the Tampa Bay area. Now things are beginning to warm up, and the transition from winter to spring begins. Every warm day takes us one step closer to some awesome fishing. As water temperatures...
Published: 02/06/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Captainís Corner: Great time to target redfish, trout

Redfish action has increased all over the region, while big wintertime trout is also a great option, if you know where to go. It is a prime time to catch both species on lures. Patterns have been somewhat inconsistent for redfish but exactly what you...
Published: 02/04/18
Updated: 02/07/18