Not a lengthy report. I just don’t do much other than bridge fishing in Upper Tampa Bay from June to November.
So much water, so many challenges. The heat of summer is here. Honestly the oddest combination of opportunity and struggle anyone can imagine.
The best of the best: Tarpon. They are steady on the shadows nighttime. No big secret, it is a great chance to not only target them, you can even do it on the big fly rods.
Redfish: They just never leave. They also ain’t easy right now. The savvy UTB angler will know “when” to find them eating.
Pompano: Silly Willy in basically any color with a pink teaser. Bounced at the base of bridge pilings, “gold” for harvesting gold nuggets. They are not on fire like other years but can be caught on almost every trip. Perhaps this action will get better in July.
Black drum moved out then back in. Average size is around 60 pounds. The Silly Willy Teaser rig works but so do other creature baits. Rootbeer Snitch or the Scarface Shrimp are great options but some people are jigging them up on the 12 Fathom SlamR.
Trout: Go somewhere else to catch a trout.
Not the best of times in UTB but there are fish being caught by those who know how to do it.
As always, be careful out there!
Stay alert and make a difference:
Keep an eye out and make the phone calls. Illegal nets found in Upper Tampa Bay have been confiscated thanks to the tips from citizens. Working with the field staff, I personally know that they have a great response rate on the calls I make. Too many people do not make the attempt because they did not get a response in the past. Trust me, they do the best they can and they do respond as quickly as possible.
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. If you see a poacher: Make a phone call.
At the request of my contemporaries, “keeping the message alive”: If you catch a snook: don’t take it out of the water for eight minutes taking pictures. Don’t “get a weight” of the fish. Enjoy the species if you cross paths, but take extra steps to make sure those fish remain in the living population. A huge contingency of the best respected fishing guides on the Gulf coast opposed their decision to reopen to harvest, made sincere pleads over and over to get the decision reversed but were ignored. Do your part and try to give this species a chance to return to prominence regardless of their faulty data and poor decision making.