Not much has changed since the last update a week ago. So much water, so many challenges. The heat of summer and the influx of rainfall runoff, lots of challenges for fishing the North part of Tampa Bay. To start August a tropical storm. A weak one. It is 50 miles away and there are blue skies in parts of Pinellas County. August is a time of change. Will things improve in the Upper Bay? We will see. August will likely be hot. How much rain we get may influence how the fishing is up here.
Pompano at the bridges? I don’t know. I haven’t even tried. The drum are there but I haven’t had the requests for those trips this year.
Tarpon are steady on the shadows nighttime. They are there and they are feeding. Right on the shadow lines of the bridges but particularly where there are schools of ladyfish. Use the right gear or don’t do this at all.
Redfish are around and have been fairly active in the first two hours after sunrise. The rest of the time, it is not going to happen.
Mentioned already, bridge fishing- 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 gathering in larger numbers by the day and it things mimic 2013, the next three to five weeks should have excellent action bumping pompano jigs/teasers on the bridge pilings. Need teasers? I have 6000 of them ready for you.
A daily nuisance on pompano trips: 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. Not a great option in the upper Bay. The central part of the Bay a little better. Overall, not the best time of year to target big trout. Give it time. They’ll be back.
It is late July and things are tough but there are fish being caught by those who know how to do it.
Kayak Fishing Skool for August, a new location: A great situation. August 24th. Efficiency in Kayak Fishing
As always, be careful out there!
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.