Upper Tampa Bay, Neil Taylor


What’s happenin’ in the upper stretches of Tampa Bay?

Redfish are just not in the best numbers compared to the past five years.   But there is a little more activity than there was earlier this year.  These fish are the most sensitive to noise and movement and the stealth angler has the advantage.   Long casts with light lines and leaders with soft-landing lures is the best bet.

Trout action remains mostly weak, something that will likely continue in this part of the Bay for a while.   Look to other areas if this is the species you want to catch.

The big story, without question is the deep water action.     Pompano:  Have arrived, and in great numbers and size.   They are in the deep troughs, edges of boat channels and around bridge pilings and fender.   Use the Silly Willy in bright yellow and add a pink teaser.   Bring a larger rod than you really need for pompano:  Black drum are ALL OVER the big bridges, not at all unusual for this time of year.   Zero food value black drum are broad shouldered and a tough opponent on the “pompano tackle.”  The other big battle culprit at the bridges:   Cobia, which have been hooked or caught just about every time a pompano trip has been taken.   Bring along the right size cooler if you want to keep a legal size cobia.

It is worth repeating, for the good of the species.   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.  As the late Captain Mel used to say “The fish are our partners.”   We both believed that and they can really use our help right now.

As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor
(Cell) 727-692-6345

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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 www.capmel.com and eventually became that web site’s owner.