Saturday, March 24, 2018

East Bay Fishing Report

WARM UP TO SUCCESS: Finding warm water is key this time of year. Your temperature gauge can be a great tool to utilize if you have one on your boat. Water that is just a few degrees warmer than its surrounding can be a magnet for game fish. Finding areas of warm water can be the difference between catching a few fish and keeping the rods bent all day. Rivers such as the Little Manatee and Alafia are great areas to find and fish warm water. Mud and docks hold heat throughout the day better than sand.

POWER FISHING: The Apollo Beach power plant is also a great area. The water that is pumped out of the power plant is much warmer than the surrounding water and is a major fish attractant. This attraction will only get stronger as winter gets closer.

BAIT: Whitebait will continue to be the bait of choice until it leaves the flats. Whitebait is still pretty easy to net on almost all area flats and that should continue until we have some sustained cold weather. Shrimp are starting to move their way up the depth chart and should soon begin producing fish equally as well as whitebait.

DOCKS: The dock fishing in our region has been on fire lately. Snook and redfish are feeding very aggressively on free lined baits tossed under and around dock pilings. If a fish dinner is part of your plan, docks fishing offers a great opportunity to cash in on an excellent sheepshead and mangrove snapper bite. Using light leader and smaller hooks is imperative to getting these keen-eyed finicky fish to bite.

Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, c[email protected] or


Captainís Corner: Erratic weather making offshore fishing unpredictable

Continued heavy winds have kept offshore fisheries from settling in to predictable patterns. When things have calmed, nearshore baitfish have bunched up and kingfish and Spanish mackerel settled in around them. Unfortunately, each cold front has chur...
Published: 03/23/18

Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

So what happened to our spring weather in February? The weather has the fish moving back and forth between their winter and summer spots, and with April just a few weeks away, the air temperature is warming up and should be in the upper 70s and low 8...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/22/18

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