Summer-like weather over the past week has pushed our water temperatures up to about what they should be for this time of year. The warmer water should hopefully accelerate the baitfish migration to the area. Thus far this spring season has been pretty light on bait. Those willing to get up early have had success filling the live well with scaled sardines. However, once the sun comes up, cast-netting live bait has been tough to say the least.
The best kingfish action remains in 30 to 50 foot of water. Artificial reefs in this depth are key places to target, as well as near shore hard-bottom areas as shallow as 20 foot. Trolling either live blue runners or silver spoons behind a number 2 planer has been working well. Most of the fish have been in the 10-pound range, with fish up to 20 pounds being fairly common.
The redfish has dominated the inshore scene. Big high tides brought on by this last moon phase allowed anglers to target reds along the mangroves for extended periods of time. Warmer water has prompted the reds to feed much better than a couple of weeks ago, and having a well full of scaled sardines doesn’t hurt, either. Target the points along the mangrove shorelines. These small points will usually have an oyster bar around them and when the tide is high, the reds like to sit right on top of the oyster.
Pier anglers fishing the De Soto piers and the Skyway piers are catching plenty of pompano. Catch these tasty critters by bouncing Crazy jigs off the bottom. Early mornings have provided the best action. Expect plenty of Spanish mackerel to be hanging around the piers as well. Cast Gotcha plugs, silver spoons or live threadfins.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.