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.