This past week’s weather gave us a sample of what’s to come over the next two months.
Plenty of rain, heat and humidity can make it difficult to get the shallow water fish to bite at times. Light winds projected for this week should allow anglers to get offshore where the bite is sure to be better.
Gag grouper season opened at the beginning of the month and as expected, fishing has been very good. Big ledges and artificial reef structures are holding lots of gag grouper. The fish can be at any depth, from inside of the Skyway out to 150 feet deep. We’ve been taking out plenty of large pinfish, but have been having most of our success on dead bait, frozen sardines, shad or threadfin herring. All will work.
Red grouper are holding as shallow as 60 feet. Drift fishing with live pinfish over scattered live bottom has been very productive. Generally speaking, the deeper you go the better average you will find.
Black tip shark fishing has been excellent along channel edges and mud bottom flats in 6 to 10 feet of water throughout the Intracoastal. Anchor up-tide of the area and put out a fresh chum block. Use frisky pinfish and grass grunts for bait suspended under a small balloon, with a 60-pound mono leader and a large circle hook typically 6/0 or 7/0. Most of the sharks are around 3 feet with the occasional 5 footer possible.
Tarpon fishing has been good the first couple of hours of the day. Deep residential canals are good places to check for rolling fish in the morning. Putting out a spread of fresh shad or mullet will occasionally attract the attention of the lazy rollers. Tampa bay has been hit or miss the past few weeks. However, I would imagine that as we approach the full moon, things should get back on track. Look for the fish around bait schools and deep holes along bridges. Cast artificial lures to rolling fish or soak fresh dead bait on the bottom.
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.