Early spring: The SouthShore area is full of life right now. From the Skyway to the Alafia, the fishing is great and the weather couldn't be better. I have been fishing like it's March and it has been paying off with springtimelike results.
Bait: Shrimp are still producing good results, but they are definitely starting to play second fiddle to whitebait. Whitebait is scattered down the SouthShore but is a sure bet at the Skyway. Black and fiddler crabs have also been producing good results. Fishing them with a small size 1 hook and 15-pound leader under docks is sure to put some nice redfish and sheepshead in the boat.
Trout: The trout fishing has been great in the residential canals, especially in the Apollo Beach and MiraBay areas as well as the 6-foot contour that runs most of the SouthShore. Redfish fishing has been steady in Cockroach Bay and the Little Manatee River with most of the fish in the low to mid slot with some big ones mixed in. There have also been some black drum roaming around and eating shrimp without hesitation.
Snook: The snook fishing is really starting to heat up on the flats and estuaries. We have had lots of success fishing them on the strongest parts of the tide and have put several in the 25- to 35-inch range in the boat over the last couple of weeks. Fishing a live whitebait hooked through the nostril and free-lined toward waiting snook is a surefire recipe for success.
Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, c[email protected] and online at fishingguidetampa.com.