1. Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Heavy rains can result in strong fishing

Published Jul. 5, 2015

Recent heavy rains have parts of Tampa Bay looking like a glass of hot tea. The rivers are flowing heavily from a record-setting wet summer, pushing a lot of freshwater into Tampa Bay. This is not a bad thing because some species love the relief from the heat that rivers and creeks provide. Yes, it is blazing hot outside, but there are areas where the fish are quite eager to bite. Currently, mangrove snapper and redfish are the most cooperative species. On a recent trip, both species nailed shrimp and live sardines like they were going out of style. Their size was impressive, especially for the area. Fishing in stained water requires versatility when using artificial lures. Colors look different to fish at different depths, which is especially true when the water has that "river" colored look. Try an array of color schemes until you establish a pattern, then stick with it. Once again, redfish have become much more active. They are all the way from Pendola Point to Ruskin despite the "iced tea" color to the water. It is actually the decaying vegetation upriver that gives the water its tea look. Tannic acid is the byproduct of plant decomposition also responsible for the amber color. It becomes really noticeable in the bay when it rains heavy for several days in a row. For the frugal angler without a proper bimini top, or any way to have shade, a makeshift instant T-top can be deployed. The picnic table-type umbrellas will fit into most rod holders and easily can be put up and down for travel quickly. It might not be fancy, but who really cares about fancy when faced with the decision to roast in the direct sun or stay relatively cool in the shade. Personally, I'll take the shade option every time.

Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit


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