Friday, February 23, 2018
Outdoors

East Bay Fishing Report

Bait: We're finally seeing consistent bait showing up on the flats throughout Tampa Bay. When it comes to size, it is a mixed bag. I use a quarter-inch mesh net and even then still get a few stickers. The better bait is in about 4 to 5 feet of water. You will want to chum them up with tropical fish food. I wouldn't even bother getting on the flat too early and throwing. If you wait until the sun comes up, you will only have to throw a couple of times.

Redfish: August and September should see more redfish action around the Tampa Bay area. The bay notoriously produces good catches of redfish; you just need to find the ones ready to eat. Redfish tend to push into the mangrove-lined shores and oyster bars on incoming tides where live bait normally produces good catches along with cut bait. Early morning artificial lures fished on the grass flats and around the mangroves usually offer some excellent excitement as well. Work both incoming and outgoing tides.

Trout: Tampa Bay trout have come back like gangbusters. They are making their transition back from the beaches and are eating everything in sight. It's not unusual to catch a limit of trout for dinner on any grass flat provided you're on good incoming or outgoing tides. If you're free-lining white bait and the current is moving, you might need to add split shot to keep the bait down. In water 5 feet or shallower, try a popping cork, but again, you might want to add a little weight.

Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Contact him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.

Comments

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...
Updated: 7 hours ago

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

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18