Saturday, February 24, 2018
Outdoors

East bay fishing report for March 7

Spring fever. Spring offers the best fishing of the year in our area. Many species become much more active as the water warms, giving anglers ample opportunities for dinner and just plain fun. Offshore has the kingfish blitz, and inshore fishing heats up as well and goes crazy for a few months.

What's hot. Redfish are starting to prowl the flats in search of an easy meal. Nice schools of the red mini bulldozers can be found from Pendola Point all the way to Ruskin. There is not a lot of boat traffic in these areas yet, allowing large aggregations of fish a quiet place to feed and not be disturbed, and thus they are easier to trick.

Technique. On a recent trip, we caught nice reds on live shrimp fished under a float. Greenbacks are still in deep water and are difficult to obtain. Our shrimp presentation worked just fine. The water is still a bit on the chilly side. This actually is a good thing. There are fewer bait stealers on the flats when the water is cool.

Tackle. Medium to light spinning tackle is ideal for fishing in the shallows. Bites are detected much more easily, longer casts are possible, and it is simply more fun. The use of lighter gear will usually equate to more fish being caught when it all is said and done.

Timely. We are rapidly approaching "game day" in Tampa Bay. All maintenance issues should be taken care of immediately as shops and mechanics are already getting busy. Do it now, to be prepared for our annual influx of great catching.

Capt. Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Cobia moving into bay ahead of schedule

Rapidly increasing water temperatures have migratory fish moving toward the bay area. Typically, schools of coastal pelagic fish such as cobia and mackerel do not return until late March. This year, they are way ahead of schedule. Cobia are one of th...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Rising temperatures fire up the bite

With no cold fronts rolling into the bay area soon, it also means water temperatures are on the rise to the mid 70s. That has the bite fired up inshore and nearshore. Snook fishing is on fire with these warmer temperatures at night. Weíve been findin...
Published: 02/22/18

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

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