By Neil Taylor,

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. So many Manatee boat ramps closed, find out ahead of time where you can put in successfully.  

You name it, it’s here right now.    Trout, redfish, a few snook, flounder, huge jacks, ladyfish, spanish and king mackerel.

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.   They are better in other areas but there are some down here.  

Flounder were a decent news item this week.  The beginnings of the influx we had our first double digit day of flatties last week with 11 fish over 14 inches.  

Pompano are rumored to being caught regularly from the piers.   Also at the hump bridge.  My pompano location, we have only caught a few.     But, it’s early still.   Pompano settle into different areas as summer approaches.     

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:
(Cell) 727-692-6345
Owner and site administrator:

Fisherman’s Night has been canceled because of virus concerns.   I will restart it at the appropriate time.  

Neil Taylor

Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding.Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed and eventually became that web site’s owner.
Neil Taylor

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