The Tampa Bay Times
Large schools of Spanish mackerel have invaded our near-shore water’s. Along stretch of perfect weather has the bait stacked up over near-shore artificial reefs a few hundred yards from shore and the Spanish are taking notice.
Trolling flashy spoons around the structures and any bird activity you can find will produce plenty of Spanish mackerel and the occasional schoolie sized kingfish. Larger Kingfish in the 10 to 20 pound range have been found in good numbers a bit further offshore circling bait stacks in 50 to 60 feet of water.
Inshore, the snook and redfish bite has been excellent through ought Tampa Bay. Mid seventy degree water first thing in the morning has had the fish willing to chew the entire day. Lower tidal stages will have the fish pushed out away from the mangroves making them much easier to access.
Free-lining live pilchards has been the ticket for some hot action with the snook and redfish. Locating the oil rich baits that these predator fish love has been the tricky part. Not unusual for the time of year, the bait seems to be constantly on the move. Some days it can be found holding around bridge pilings and at other times out from the bridges in deep water where it can be located by diving pelicans and marked on your bottom machine.
Calm days have provided good conditions for hunting down cobia. Search the outer flats in 3 to 4 feet of water, looking for the schools of stingrays that seem to be everywhere. Cast soft-plastic eel imitations and top-water plugs to grab the fishes’ attention.
Capt. Tyson Wallerstein
Flats Monster Inshore Fishing