By Neil Taylor,

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.   Jigging the Skyway pier with a pompano jig and an Uncle Neil teaser:   Limit of mackerel in half an hour.    

Sheepshead are still an item down there.   The tail end of that opportunity:  Find the rocks, find the sheepies.  

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.  They are the easiest target.     They are very cooperative.   Tie on a topwater lure.    It’s time.    The 12 Fathom SlamR remains one of the best ways to catch them.   

Flounder are becoming an item again?   It is slightly early but there are some here.   Way early, I think it is more a factor that they don’t all leave every winter but some of the indications are that the flatties are following the baitfish in.   The south shore is the best place in all of Tampa Bay to find them.    The SlamR dragged at a snails pace is the best way to catch big flounder.   

The pompano are also creating a stir around Sarasota and expected to wander into the Bay..   Stocked up on Neil Taylor Pink Teasers, Scott’s ready to start jigging some gold nugget slabs.   Hopefully pompano fishing will be the same as it’s been for the last two years.      Outstanding pompano action for months at a time.   

Redfish are always an option down there.    Not as good as they once were, if you get lucky you might get into them.      Some have been released.    But not enough to make a major difference.    Tell the authorities you want to see them keep increasing the number that are released.   

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
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(Cell) 727-692-6345
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Former baseball umpire, now fishing guide. Graduate of the University of Arizona.

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