Finally we’re starting to dry out around here, a five-day stretch of wind and rain last week was enough to keep most anglers off the water.
Dealing with dirty churned up water has been the norm over the past few weeks. Many fish, especially Spanish mackerel and trout, a couple of summer go-to species, won’t stick around and feed in the cloudy water. The loss of these key species calls for a bit of improv.
In situations like this, seeking refuge along a lee-shoreline laden with fish holding habitat such as docks can put a bend in the rod. Often when we think of dock fishing it’s late fall and the wind is howling out of the north, but those same good docks will hold fish in the warmer months too.
Shade is a big key to attracting fish as well as the deeper cooler water found under the dock versus the flats. Redfish big and small are often what we’re looking for under the docks this time of year. However the welcome by-catch of trout, jack crevalle, flounder, small cobia and the list goes on are all a possibility.
You can pitch both live and cut bait under the docks, a 2- to 3-inch pilchard fished on the bottom held down with a No. 2 split-shot will catch just about anything living under there outside of a black drum or sheepshead, which are both potential target species with the use of fresh frozen shrimp or a chunk of blue crab.
Big black drum are congregating around Tampa Bay bridges as well as many of the bridges along the Intracoastal Waterway. Drum over 50 pounds can be seen working the surface along the bridge pilings. These fish aren’t what you want to take home for dinner but are fun to catch and release. Using grouper or tarpon sized tackle is recommended for pulling the brutes away from the structure. Your best bait is a half of a blue crab, however, these fish will take a GULP! Bait as well.
Until next week – get bent!
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.