Thursday, March 22, 2018

Captain's Corner: Warm weather brings out inshore species early

What's hot: With a very moderate winter, many inshore species are showing late spring patterns. The larger speckled trout have started to move out onto the beaches and jetties along the coast. Incoming tides seem to stimulate these females on a better feeding pattern. Most of the trout will hang deep in troughs and be found tight to the rocks or structures. The snook are beginning to stack up along the Spoil Islands working out from the back country. Larger, free-lined greenbacks are the ticket to getting these finicky fish to feed. The passes are showing good numbers of linesiders on swift-moving tides around new and full moons.

Tips: The most prevalent inshore species found now are redfish, which are schooling up and moving into the grass flats, oyster bars and docks throughout St. Joseph Sound. The reds are following the mullet schools into the shallows as the tide floods, feeding on bait and crabs that get flushed out of the grass. On higher tides, these schools will move into the mangrove tree line and aggressively hit anything tossed into the shadow line. This combat zone can make for a great bite for anglers prepared with the right tackle.

Tackle: When fishing for reds in the trees, anglers need 25-pound leader with a heavy splitshot right above the hook to keep the bait in the strike zone for a longer period. This will help reduce cutoffs from overhanging limbs.

Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at [email protected]


Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

The weather and water temperature roller coaster continues. Finding consistent action has been difficult with windy conditions keeping us from fishing many open parts of the bay or out into the gulf. Hiding in secluded backwater areas or on leeward s...
Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18