Springtime fishing remains quite good as we near the third week of April.
Both inshore and offshore fishing are offering some great action for those looking to get out on the water. And now that the boat ramps are open, access to the water is once again attainable for most anglers.
Fishing in the inshore areas of Tampa Bay and it’s adjacent waters is providing plenty to do for those wishing to target catch and release species such as snook, redfish and spotted seatrout. Many catch-and-release snook are being found along mangrove shorelines where a good title flow exists. In the same areas, catch-and-release reds are present, which is adding a nice variety to the snook bite. Free-lining live shiners as bait is working best for either species.
As for the catch-and-release trout, moving to slightly deeper grassflats is proving to be advantageous. Again areas were good tidal flow exists are producing the best bite to attract these trout to the hook. The combination of a jig head and soft plastic is working nicely. Free-lined shiners on a small hook are also a good bet.
For those inshore anglers in search of a species to catch and take home for dinner, Spanish mackerel are good choice right now. Fishing over the artificial reefs in Tampa Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico is a great place to find these aggressive migratory fish. Free-lining live shiners as bait on a long shank hook is working best. Mixed in with the macks are jacks and ladyfish which, although aren’t good eating, provide excellent action on light tackle. And as a bonus you made find mangrove snapper rising to the surface to feed on the free-lined shiners. A limit of mangoes in the cooler is always a welcome sight. Moving off shore, high activity fish such as blackfin tuna, amberjack, kingfish and African pompano seem to be the highlight this past week. All of these fish are strong fighters when on the line and can be taken home for dinner — especially the tuna. Free-lining live shiners or sardines is attracting the action. Once your arms are worn out it’s probably a good idea to switch to some snapper fishing. Both yellowtail and mangrove snapper are being caught with some regularity depending on where you are fishing. Chumming heavily with shiners and with the aid of a frozen chum bag is raising these species up from the bottom to feed. Free-lining small shiners combined with light leaders and small hooks is resulting in limit of these tasty fish.