A rough couple of weeks (weather-wise) is past with summer-like conditions upon us.
It won’t take long for our near-shore water temperatures to rebound and once they do, the fishing should really turn on.
Our spring kingfish run will likely be extended this year with the cold spring we’ve had. Our near-shore waters should finally clean up this weak with light winds on the forecast. This should bring the bait in closer and in turn the kingfish and mackerel. Traditional near-shore spots such as the Blind Pass drop, Clearwater hard-bottom and the 90-foot hole at Egmont Key will be top spots for big fish this weekend. The artificial reefs like the South County, Betty Rose and the Rube Allyn are definite hot spots for good numbers of fish, with most of the fish being schoolies.
Spanish mackerel, a favorite prey of kingfish, also will be within reach of land-based anglers fishing the local piers. Also try chumming along the outer edges of the flat. Schools of mackerel can be spotted by finding good bird activity. Spoons, Gotcha plugs and live- and cut-bait will catch plenty of macks.
Pier anglers also should expect to encounter more pompano with the warm weather. Be sure to have some Silly Willy jigs in 3/8- and 1/2-ounce sizes. Redington Pier, the Fort De Soto piers and Gandy fishing pier are all good options.
Flats’ fishing continues to be dominated by the redfish. Reds of all sizes can be found up in the shallows rooting around the mullet schools and oyster bars.
Live baiters should be prepared to try a variety of baits in order to find out what the reds want. Some days the reds can be chummed up to a frenzy with frisky white baits and other days they’ll only respond to live shrimp. High tides are definitely your best bet. Not pressing on the fish before the tide is up will let them settle in to their natural pattern.
Trout fishing in our northern county remains good. Those willing to put in the time for capturing some live pilchards have been rewarded with some good fish. Targeting the strong part of the incoming tide will give you your best chance at catching a mess of trout.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at email@example.com. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.