Although the month of May is known for being the beginning of tarpon season, don’t forget that flats fishing and offshore fishing offer some of the best action there is for our local waters.
If it’s tarpon you fancy, there are a few schools of fish making a showing along the beaches and around Egmont Key, although the large numbers of fish have yet to arrive. So, if you haven’t already done so, you still have another week or two to dust off your tarpon gear. Make sure fresh line is spooled on your reels and start building a collection of crabs to use as bait.
But, until the tarpon show up in numbers, it’s time to enjoy the crystal clear waters of our inland fishing as well as in the Gulf of Mexico.
On the flats, snook, trout and redfish are being caught frequently during the better tides. Heck, even on the not so good tides, anglers are finding success. Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle are being caught in good numbers while fishing inland waters of Tampa Bay south to Sarasota Bay.
Fishing around nearshore structure and in the Gulf is also proving to be good. Targeting mackerel and bonito is resulting in good action on light spinning gear. Lucky anglers are hooking into an occasional cobia or kingfish in these areas, so make sure to have a couple of stout rods on hand.
Finally, moving offshore is yielding blackfin tuna for those who know which wrecks to fish. This bite is what you could consider a frenzy. Mixed in are bonito and amberjacks as well as plenty of sharks to keep you on your toes.
Bottom fishing around hard bottom areas is proving to be good for snappers and groupers.
On my Just Reel charters, I’m finding plenty of action while fishing the flats. Snook are cooperating nicely when presented with a live shiner cast just perfectly up against the mangroves. Redfish are following suit when they can beat the snook to the bait.
For anglers who wish to take fish home for dinner, I’m finding spotted seatrout most accommodating. Fishing certain deep grass flats is yielding trout on every bait cast into the water. Mixed in with the trout are jacks, ladyfish and mackerel which adds some variety to the bite.