By Neil Taylor, www.strikethreekayakfishing.com

Things are hopping on the south shore.    A great fishery, often challenged by illegal netting, our dedicated officers have done well in eliminating those problems and that has led to better action along the Manatee County shoreline.

You name it, it’s here right now.    Trout, redfish, a few snook, flounder, huge jacks, bluefish, ladyfish, spanish and king mackerel.  Just unreal opportunities in this part of Tampa Bay.

Right on schedule:  Mackerel are still one of the top stories around the lower portion of Tampa Bay.   It is March and it is primetime for spanish mackerel.   From the piers:  Use the Silly Willy/Teaser rig.    Use 40# leader.    Jig it hard and catch one mackerel after another.    The Skyway Piers are absolutely easy mackerel fishing in the month of March.  

Sheepshead are still an item down there.   Trout action went from mediocre to outstanding to end February and start March.   The big fish are sitting in the holes.   Smaller fish over the deeper grass.  Sheepshead at peak right now, we have seen some monster specimens.   Not willing to bait hooks, I have left this option to others.

There are good concentrations of speckled trout if you know exactly where to go.   A strange year for this species, maybe next year things will be back to normal.

Redfish are more scattered than dependable.  Here one day, gone the next, locations farther north have yielded more fish.  The closure hasn’t hurt but how much has it really helped?

The beginnings of the influx we had our first double digit day of flatties last week with 11 fish over 14 inches.   Will it happen this year??

Pompano are rumored to being caught regularly from the piers.   Read the report by Paul Bristow below for details.  Yellow jig, pink teaser.

Fly fishing the bottom of the Bay:  The schedule has been busy for the first time since the virus stuff started.    The action has been easy.    It is just plain easy to be a guide when the action is like this.    On the fly, very good.   My flies used by the fly clients, my flies caught a little of everything.   My flies are pretty straighforward.   A weight on the eye of the hook and a lot of gold tied in.    Chartreuse or white mixed into most of the flies.   Pompano, mackerel, trout, ladyfish, jacks and even a big sheepshead.    Ladyfish and trout are easiest.    The incoming tides in the mornings, just easy to find and stay on the action.    Slower strips are sometimes necessary but not always.   I hope things continue like this for a long time.   

In a battle that is never really over: The great work of FWC officers to target felony netters and keep an eye on other recreational offenders has led to better fishing for us all.  Their continued efforts to catch felony netters are making the south shore region return as a great fishery again.   But help them out:  Keep your eyes peeled for illegal activity and make a call if you see poaching, 888-404-FWCC (3922).  Your tips will help make cases and you could be eligible for a reward.  The fishery survives the pressure of poaching, a lot of anglers and just continues to be a great location to go.  

As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 
www.strikethreekayakfishing.com
(Cell) 727-692-6345  LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com

Coming soon:   A kayak by Neil Taylor.   The mold is being made.  We are designing a winner.    Coastal Mojo, The Fishin’ Magician.   Stores will carry them.   Direct purchases will also be possible.  The details will be made available soon.   The design is like no other.    The decisions, making a boat that fits the market.   Making a boat that fills a gap in the market.   Comfort.  Stability.     Affordability. 

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