Spring Fishing Is In Full Force
As we enter the month of April one thing that is certain, weather is awesome and we have some of best fishing in Tampa Bay. You can do just about anything in the month of April. From Snook fishing in the backcountry, to Kingfish in the gulf. This is the month to get out and go fishing.
Snook fishing this year has been something special inside the bay. The FWC closed Snook and Redfish due to the red tide and for good reason. Some areas were hit hard but others like up inside Tampa Bay did not get the big kill. The closure while some would argue was a must. This gave us some relief on our fishery statewide. It has also gave us some nice slot fish to catch and release this year. Just that short window of closure has made a significant difference in the bay and the results have been quality fish boatside more often.
Tampa Bay is also host to some great Grouper fishing. While most think that you can’t catch Grouper inside the bay I’m here to tell you different. Tampa Bay is host to tons of artificial reefs and tons of ledges from years of current flow in certain areas. As a result we have quite the Grouper fishery inside the bay. There are tons of different ways to fish Grouper in Tampa Bay. I prefer to anchor up and chum the fish from the structure. This can be done with both live and cut bait. Technology has also made this easier and taken the guesswork out of know what type of structure you are fishing and being able to anchor on the spot with the touch of a button. I’ve used Rhodan Marine GPS trolling motor for about 10 years and this has been a game changer when fishing in the bay or offshore. This mixed with my simrad 3D structure scan will give you more information as to what is on the bottom and holding on the spot without tossing an anchor.
Best of the rest would have to be Trout, Reds and Mackerel. Trout fishing this year has been a little off as finding Trout has been a lot of effort with little reward. The FWC made some changes in February to the size that can be harvested. You can not keep any Trout over 20 inches, the 4 per person between 15 to 20 inches is still in effect. Reds have also been a little bit of work but as we head into the month of May we should start to see some schools show up.
Last would have to be our Mackerel run. They are starting to show up in good numbers on the shoals and outer flats. Mackerel fishing is as easy as it gets. Look for good tidal flow around the range markers mixed with shaving bait and you should be in a great spot.
Captain Jason Prieto is a native resident of Tampa and has fished Tampa Bay and its surrounding waters for the past 30 years. He is owner and operator of Steady Action Fishing Charters which is based out of lower Tampa Bay and has been operating since 2004. To book a charter, you can reach him at 813-727-9890 or www.steadyactionfishingcharters.com. If you would like to catch him on the radio tune into Tampa Fishing Outfitters Fishing Show every Monday night from 7 to 8 Pm.