Tampa Fishing Reports

2022 May Tampa Clearwater Fishing report

The big snook of summer are here. Within the last week, the biggest females, who likely reside on near shore reefs much of the year, rolled in. Groups numbering 10-40 fish are now being sighted on all Tampa Fishing Charters. Many of these fish are 34 - 40 plus inches. What immediately follows a bite from one of these large fish is why so many inshore anglers target them. Within seconds, the fish departs on a scorching run, towards cover if available. Skilled anglers employ a variety of techniques to land big snook....the most notable of these is opening the bail and feeding line to a fish that reaches cover.(Remember to keep light tension when doing this).  By removing pressure from the line, the fish cannot break it.  With minimum pressure, yet with still a tight line, the angler then slowly applies renewed pressure to lead the fish from cover. Once the fish is clear, the drag is may be loosened slightly to account for potential line damage and the battle resumes. The second tactic would be to fight the fish "softly".  Large fish will basically do what they want, whether hooked on 10 lbs of 30 lbs line. The angler must be fully aware of this and "give in" to a strong run or erratic move by a fish...leaning towards a fish, never pulling quickly or erratically or reeling at this time. Always give to a large fish. Reciprocally, when applying upward pressure on the rod to slow, stop or retrieve a fish, the rod should be lowered as soon as its reaches it's high point to gain line...except when the fish is pulling drag. The rod is lowered slowly while the angler reels rapidly, insuring the maximum amount of line gain. The angler should then slowly and smoothly attempt to raise the rod again so that more line can be gained and, hopefully, the fish will be turned towards the boat. Do not reel or try and gain line when a fish is pulling drag. Simply hold the rod high to make the fish use maximum energy. Even with 40 lbs fluorocarbon leader, a large snook will wear through this leader if fought too long. For a successful outcome then, the angler must both respect the fish when it runs or surges, yet put line on the reel and shorten the length of the fight in order to land the biggest snook. 

Monsterr Summer Snook in Clearwater

Fishing for redfish has steadily improved over the last month, as is typical for this time of year.  Also, quality fish in the 28 - 32 inch range have been caught with much greater regularity over the last few weeks.  This solid action will continue throughout the summer. Redfish are clearly the mainstay of inshore fishing.  They are abundant, like to eat, pull hard, are available most months of the year and are respectable table fare. Best success has been along mangrove shorelines. Fish have not been located in large schools lately but continuous movement down productive shoreline areas have yielded 6 - 12 quality redfish on most trips. Once fish are found in a given area, "chumming the bushes" may bring other fish out from under the cover and increase catch numbers.

Overslot Redfish in Tampa

Seatrout are still being caught out on gulf beaches but numbers and size are beginning to drop off.  Many Tampa Fishing Captains begin to abandon efforts to catch these fish once June arrives as the payback just isn't there. Not to mention, between the excellent fishing for snook, redfish and tarpon, there are better options. Tarpon are now in full swing with good numbers off the beaches and in local passes. Although these fish can be finicky, with the strong numbers available now, chances of putting a hook in one are decent.  Plan on an early start and be equipped with a variety of baits....everything from crabs to thread fins, to pinfish to grunts. It's one of the few fish that, if you hook just one, it can make for a great day.  Good luck and good fishing.

Snook and Redfish Charters

 

 

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