Water temperatures in the Little Manatee River and Tampa Bay are now in the mid to 80s.Temperatures at this level are just about on schedule and so is the fishing.
The bite on the SouthShore of Tampa Bay continues to be good. In the mix this week has been Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Snook and Redfish.
Trout fishing has been good the last few weeks with catches of 15 to 20 fish per trip. Most of the trout caught have been lower slot size or just under the slot size of 15 to 20 inches. The bigger trout have spread out on the shallower flats. Bigger trout (over 22 inches) tend to be loners and do not usually school up with the other fish. Sometimes when you locate a school of trout try casting to the edges of the school bigger trout just might be on the edges of the school of smaller fish. The big surprise has been the number of silver trout caught in the deeper grass areas. Silver trout are smaller in size than the more popular sea trout however; they cook up just as well!
Red fishing on the Southshore has been the best I have seen in the last few years. We have been finding small schools of fish from the mouth of the Little Manatee River South to Bishops Harbor. We have been working the grass flats from Mary's lake to Beacon pass in Cockroach Bay and have been finding plenty of redfish; higher tides seem to work out best. Scaled sardines have been my bait of choice using cut up thread fin haring as chum.
The Spanish mackerel fishing has been good over the last few weeks. Most have been caught on the range markers that dot Tampa bay. Just anchor up tide from the markers, put a frozen chum block out and place a shrimp or a scaled sardine on a long shank hook and hold on. I use 6 pound diameter 15 pond breaking strength braided line with a 40 pound fluorocarbon shock leader to tie on my 1/0 xxx long shank hook. This set up seems to work best for me and helps to minimize the many bite offs you get with Spanish mackerel.
We had very good success catching Snook this week and one of the fish caught measured out at 40 inches. The number of snook is still not where it was prior to the 2010 cold snap and in my opinion we should keep the season closed for at least one more year. Snook seem to be on the move headed for their annul spawning grounds. They seem to be here today and gone tomorrow as we find them in areas along the grass flats and passes from Apollo Beach south to Joe Island. Live scaled sardines seem to work best but you will have to be patient and wait for them to bite.
Sam Heitman visiting Pirates Point Resort from Ft. Myers Fl. Proudly showing the snook he caught while fishing with Capt. Danny Guarino. This snook measured out to be 40 inches. It was Sam's first ever snook.
There is plenty of white bait( scaled sardines) on the grass flats of Tampa Bay all up and down the Southshore area but expect to see this bait leave after they spawn in late June. July is always tough to get useable bait. Look for the diving birds early in the morning and there a good chance the bait is close by. Set up a chum line and the bait will come to you.
Be safe out there.
Capt. Danny R. Guarino