What's hot: The seemingly endless winter is over, and spring conditions have begun to settle in. Mackerel have shown up in various locations. Bait schools are starting to show up, too. Reports of whitebait and greenbacks in and around Pass-a-Grille pass are sure signs better fishing is ahead. Gradual warming water has jump-started the return of the traditional bottom dwellers along the rock-laden edges of the shipping channel inside Tampa Bay. Sheepshead, grunt, mangrove snapper and grouper aggressively helped themselves to shrimp halves we offered on a recent trip. Though we lost some, 20-pound test outperformed anything heavier.
Offshore activity: While recent blows have hindered much of the action, triple-digit depths have been productive. Tony Cellamare and his group reported steady action from catch-and-release grouper and red snapper while working the bottom from 120 to 150 feet. They wrestled a 40-pound amberjack up from a spring in 140 feet.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 321-2142.