Tampa Nearshore Report

blackfin tuna
04/09/2020

Hogfish are still biting near shore around 30-70ft of water. They have definitely slowed a bit from the cooler moths, but there’s still a decent chance of finding a few ready to eat near shore. Live shrimp, light tackle, and a nice backboned rod with a strong but super light spinning reel is a great approach for the hogfish. Target the smaller ledges and structures or look for them on that flat hard bottom area with the sea fans they love to hide around. As the water warms and more divers go out to spearfish these hogfish they get more and more leader shy and tougher to target via hook and line fishing. However, we do catch them year around in our area they are just more difficult in the late spring through early fall.

The snapper bite has been good lately near shore. That full moon had the snapper fired up the early part of this past week ahead of the moon. This weekend should get a good bite of snapper too today and tomorrow ahead of the weather coming Sunday. We are seeing some nice mangrove snapper in the near shore water along with some nice and plentiful lane snapper too. Vermillions are more common out deep but were seeing some caught in the deeper near shore waters mixed in with the mangroves and lane snapper around 70-100 foot of water.

Red grouper action has been good around the hard bottom areas. They love that swiss cheese or cracked up hardbottom along with the potholes. These guys forage over those hard bottom areas looking for just about anything that makes an easy meal. Historically the red grouper bite picks up late spring and goes well through the summer, but the last few years we haven’t seen much in the way of red grouper action. Hopefully this year will be different as we have already seen a big uptick in the number of red grouper cooperating in the deeper near shore water from around 60-100ft of water. Large squid strips, big live pinfish or large doubled up threadfin are great options for red grouper. I love a lizard fish or squirrel fish too for red grouper candy near shore or offshore.

Kingfish and Mackerel are thick near shore right now from the beaches out to the deepest near shore waters. However, I would target them around 40-80ft of water right now on those largest ledges, rock piles or artificial reefs that hold lots of bait. Always keep your eyes peeled when cruising to spot the birds feeding on bait pushed up to the surface by a school of mackerel with some kingfish peppered in. It’s a great time of year for the pelagic action near shore.

Along with the kingfish action we are seeing some nice blackfin tuna caught even near shore this time of year. Typically, they are most common past 100-120ft of water offshore but we have seen some nice ones pulled up lately from around 50-60ft and beyond. Still the best area to find steady blackfin is offshore, but its exciting to see a few near shore too!

The sailfish are here this time of year as well. Another one or two were caught this past week in our local near shore waters. Don’t ever forget your pitch rod when heading near shore to fish to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime to present a live bait or dead bait to a passing curious sailfish that may come check out what you are doing near shore.

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Tampa Nearshore Report

Hogfish are still biting near shore around 30-70ft of water. They have definitely slowed a bit from the cooler moths, but there’s still a decent chance of finding a few ready to eat near shore.
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