Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Weather cools, fishing gets hot

Water temperatures are starting to drop a bit, and days are getting shorter by a minute or so. When the water temperature dips into the mid 70s, fish respond with authority. We are rapidly approaching a great time of year to be an angler in our area. King and Spanish mackerel are starting to show in good numbers and have been quite cooperative, and the redfish bite has been spectacular. Redfish are swarming the flats and are holding in nice schools. Multiple catches of slot reds have been reported from upper Tampa Bay to Ruskin. Large aggregations can be found with a bit of persistence and patience. Most of the fish being caught are keepers if desired. The limit is one per person per day, with the minimum length being 18 inches to a maximum of 27 inches with the tail pinched. Cut bait fished on the bottom proved deadly the past few outings. We tore our baits in half and put a small split shot to weight it slightly. Our smelly offerings outproduced the live bait that was swimming in the same area. It wasn't even close. The dead stuff definitely outperformed the live greenbacks. Obtaining live bait will become difficult after our first real cold front. Enjoy it now, because it will be radically different in just a few weeks. Pick a day with a big high tide and look for large groups of mullet. It's almost a guarantee that reds will be meandering in the middle of all the action, and they are usually eager for a free offering. Mangrove shorelines adjacent to oyster mounds are a favorite hangout for early fall reds. Kingfish are scrumptious in the smokehouse or on the grill. Twice a year we get the migration of the seasonal pelagic fishes. Easter and Thanksgiving are kind of a gauge of when it's "on." They are just starting to show up but should be here in droves in the next few weeks.

Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.

Comments
Captainís Corner: Swimmer crabs attract big permit

Captainís Corner: Swimmer crabs attract big permit

The outgoing tides of last weekendís new moon washed thousands of small swimmer crabs, known locally as "pass crabs," out of the estuaries and into the gulf. This suddenly abundant food source offshore works as a natural chum line and draws big permi...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Captainís Corner: With full moon, tarpon are on the move

With the full moon this next week tarpon are moving down the beaches and making their way out of the bay and moving out to the bridges and the passes to feed before some of them leave to go out and spawn on the full moon. Early in the morning along t...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Captainís Corner: Cloudier water improves the bite

Windy conditions this week have actually slightly improved fishing. The waters of Saint Joseph sound had become so clear that it made finding fish easy, but getting bites very difficult. Snook have been gathering in great numbers all along the beache...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Captainís Corner: Red grouper fishing continues to be good

Red grouper fishing continues to be steady in depths of 100-120 feet. Large bait stacks are holding a fish or two, but larger concentrations are on very small rolls and potholes in those depths. Zooming in on the bottom 10-15 feet of the water column...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18

Captainís Corner: Catching a giant cobia

Cobia is the topic this week. Capt. Tom Markham, aboard the Simply Hooked, was beginning his daily bait routine. It turned out that one of the markers located near Clearwater Pass, surprisingly, had a giant fish waiting for him. The captain slid up t...
Published: 05/16/18

Captainís Corner: Tarpon showing up on beaches, bridges

This week shouldnít be a total wash out. While there is a chance of rain every day, it should only be sporadic. Hopefully it wonít dirty up the water too much. If you are a tarpon fisherman and look forward to their arrival like I do, then you are in...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/15/18

Captainís Corner: This is best time of year for bay area fishing

Itís the best time of year for fishing in the area. Tarpon can be targeted off of any of the bridges. The Gandy, Howard Frankland and Skyway are my top choices. While awaiting a tarpon strike, I kill time by dropping smaller baits for Spanish mackere...
Published: 05/13/18

Captainís Corner: Change tactics for fly fishing success

Most fly fishers would prefer minimum wind and cloudless skies to increase chances for a banner day. This has been a problem lately. The wind makes casting more difficult, unless very experienced, and clouds interfere with sight casting opportunities...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/14/18

Captainís Corner: Tips on handling burgeoning baitfish

Schools of baitfish have arrived and taken up residence in all depths. Birds are diving on them close to the beach, all the way out to the midwater artificial reefs. Farther offshore, bait schools might not be visible on the surface but can be detect...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/12/18

Captainís Corner: Buckle up, the tarpon are here

Tarpon season is here, and the fish are showing up in numbers along the beaches. While there have been tarpon in the bays and backwaters for awhile, there were very few schools cruising the coast until a few days ago. Then, seemingly overnight, big p...
Published: 05/11/18