Fishing in lower Tampa Bay is the worst I have seen. Red Tide has left the area littered with dead fish. Even worse is the fresh kill that covers the bottom of the bay, which means the toxins are present weeks after the Red Tide first moved into the area.
Our fishing from Pinellas Point to Gulfport produced a few trout of about 12 inches. Weeks earlier this area would have produced 50 to 100 trout in the 2- to 5-pound class.
Last week we tried sheepshead fishing around the bridges and docks in Tierra Verde. It took four hours to catch a legal sheepshead. I thought I was having a few bad trips, so I checked with other guides who work the same area. The first said he got skunked on his previous trip, and the other caught two small trout and a few ladyfish.
Time to start looking for new areas to fish.
When looking for new spots, I first look for fishing reports. Other Captain Corners have reported outstanding trout fishing north of the Dunedin bridge. I checked with a few guides who fish the area, and they told me the action hasn't been better in 20 years. Most of the trout have been caught on artificial lures.
Look for areas with lots of potholes. The big trout hang in 2 to 3 feet, with large concentrations of average fish in 3 to 5 feet.
_ Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.