The Tampa Bay Times

Capt. Brent Gaskill

        The trout fishing has been exceptional in my area of the bay.  The emergency closure the last couple of years has obviously made a major impact on the recovery of the species.  Now that the season has been reopened most anglers are still opting to release them in order to fully enjoy this improved fishery.  In fact, all of the guides I’ve heard from were in favor of continuing the closure of spotted sea trout.  The greater numbers of fish and increased size of the trout has impressed my charters.  The trout have readily taken lures and the artificial baits have been outperforming live bait.  We’ve mostly used jigs with a variety of plastic tail colors and top water chugging style plugs.  All the barbs have been pinched down on the hooks to further aid in quick releases.  Handling of fish has also been kept to a minimum by using a de-hooking tool and not touching the fish.  Bonus catches on the lures have included Spanish mackerel, flounder, bluefish, with crevalle jack and ladyfish mixed in for fun.

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