Redfish bite has been good throughout the area this past week with the warming trend it seemed to get these guys excited from the back bays to the passes and everywhere in between. Saw great action along the back bay areas on the structures like docks and oyster bars. In the passes it was similar around the docks and bridges were best for the redfish. Small pinfish, live shrimp and soft plastic paddle tails were all working well this past week with water temps approaching the 70’s once again.
Silver trout action was great after the weekend weather settled down all around the piers, jetties and passes we saw great catches of silver trout during the day and through the nighttime period on soft plastics and also the live shrimp.
Whiting are thick along the beaches and the beachside piers right now hitting live shrimp or slow moving lures along the bottom. These guys are tons of fun on light tackle for the whole family and very cooperative feeders once you dial in on their area.
Speckled trout action was great this past week once the weather calmed from the grass flats to the passes, we saw speckled trout on live shrimp, soft plastics, and slow moving jerk baits like the mirror lures. Edges of the flats or potholes up on the flats are great areas to target the speckled trout during the day. At night around the docks, bridges and structures holding bait in their lights are great areas to catch plenty of speckled trout too.
Mackerel and bluefish were around the mouth of the bays and most of the passes this past week pretty heavily feeding. This is somewhat odd to still have decent numbers of mackerel this time of year but were having a very mild winter which may be why they are still around. The bluefish don’t mind the cold but they still showed up despite the mild winter making it a great time for the gotcha plugs around the skyway piers, fort de soto piers or big pier 60 and also in most of the passes on the outgoing tides. Bluefish have been most common during the night while mackerel or more prevalent during the day this past week.
Sheepshead are biting very well on just about any structure you can find. The warming trend this week didn’t slow them down at all which was a pleasant surprise for many local anglers. The sheepshead loved the cut clams around our docks this past week but you can get them on small pieces of shrimp, fiddlers, oysters, barnacles and even sandfleas with the lighter tackle and minimal weight to keep your bait right against the structures they feed against.
Snook bite was going well this past week as well as the warmer waters had them on the move spreading out throughout the area onto the flats and out of the river mouths and back bay hiding spots they have been calling home during the cooler weather at the end of last week. Like the redfish the structures were a good place to find them, but they did spread onto the flats at the mouth of Tampa bay especially around the Fort De Soto area.
Pompano are showing up on the south side of our area pretty well and are working their way north. Early morning along the beaches is the best time to target them with the docs jig’s or nekid ball jigs or even the small bucktail style pompano jigs. Bouncing these lures just off the sand to mimic their main prey item, the sand flea, is what works to produce the best action and the most pompano. The passes will also see these guys too, but they move around quite a bit and are tough to really dial into unless you get lucky and find the numbers.