A welcome warm-up has brought our inshore water temperature back up into the mid-60s, and although it’s been nice out there on the water, fishing has been a little tough.
High-pressure days with little cloud cover mixed with the unpredictable effects of the full moon are surely to blame. With any luck as we move further away from this moon we should start to see some better fishing.
Bridges along the Intracoastal Waterway have fish of some kind hanging around them and when the trout and redfish don’t want to bite, they can really bail you out. Usually we start thinking about sheepshead this time of year; however, with the warmer water temperatures we’ve yet to see those big schools of sheepshead show up on the bridges.
But what the bridges may lack in sheepshead numbers they make up for in an assortment of fish. Everything from black drum to key west grunts and a ton of undersized sea bass, with the occasional keeper mixed in, can be caught on a piece of shrimp fished on the bottom. These may not be the most glamorous catches but they all offer a good fight on 10-pound test and make excellent table fare.
This is the time of year when residential dock fishing can be very good. Long dead end canals hold heat and the fish know that. Finding a string of productive docks can yield redfish, black drum and sheepshead time and time again. Think of it as an inshore angler’s version of offshore grouper fishing. Places to start looking would be canals that dead end to the north because they get more sunlight this time of year as well as east facing sea walls.
Water that’s a degree or two warmer can be all you need to find some good fish. Pitch live shrimp on a small hook with a split shot or a small egg sinker to hold bottom underneath the docks and along the seawalls.
Until next week – get bent!
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.