What's hot: Just about any sport fish you want to catch is in the Tampa Bay area. Kingfish are thick just off the beaches. Tarpon are showing around bridges and passes. Redfish are so bunched up it is hard not to catch one. A good rebound of snook are being caught and released. Trout are always here.To change things up, largemouth bass are hungry coming off the beds. Lake Tarpon is on fire with bass in the submerged hydrilla and shellcrackers are on the beds ready to take a worm.
Techniques: Troll king spoons on a No. 1 or 2 planer or slow drift live baits just offshore for kingfish and mackerel action. Tarpon will take a live threadfin herring or pinfish around larger bridges, especially at night. Catch redfish, snook and trout on artificial or live baits near mangrove shorelines with good water movement.
Tips: Bass in Lake Tarpon will take a weighted worm fished near hydrilla beds outside the cattails. Smaller crank baits will catch the schooling bass out in the middle of the lake. Shellcrackers are making the headlines with thousands of beds. Use a small No. 10 hook, live wigglers, split shot and bobber. Find the beds by smell or sight — the smell is a musky odor, sight is a circular white area.
Jackie Otto can be reached at Betts Fishing Center at (727) 518-7637 and firstname.lastname@example.org.