Do you ever get tired of fishing?  This is a question commonly asked to Tampa fishing guides by their customers. For almost all established captains, the answer is no because those who have successfully built a business have only been able to do so because their love for fishing pushed them through the difficult times. Another event that keeps veteran captains coming back is the arrival of spring and the multitude of fish species that return. That time is now.  Decisions need to be made each day regarding what species to target.  Among the possibilities...seatrout, redfish, snook, tripletail, cobia, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper..and the list goes on. It is a time of abundance.

April is a great time of year for a 6 hour trip as this length gives the angler an opportunity to target multiple species.  A typical Tampa Fishing Charter might start with a run a few miles off the beach to target kingfish.  Spanish mackerel, bonita and the occasional black tip shark might also be encountered while slow trolling for the kings.  The rigging is simple.  Medium to medium/ heavy action 7 foot spinning rods spooled with 20 lbs braided line, thirty pound flourocarbon leader and terminating with a stinger rig. Most Tampa Fishing guides prefer to tie their own stingers for 2 reasons.  First, these rigs can be tied out of the pound test wire that the captain prefers and second, the gap between the lead and stinger hooks can be adjusted to the bait size that the captain expects to have available. The secret to kingfish usually starts with location of the large bait schools of thread fin herring.  Once these are located, slowly circling them will generally entice a strike if fish are present.

With a few kingfish on ice, it's time to head back inshore to target the three primary inshore species...snook redfish and seatrout. The outstanding big winter seatrout fishing is still available as of this writing but is likely to end shorty as waters warm.  Trips in the last few days have still resulted in limit fishing, with several fish in excess of 20 inches making an appearance each day. Large whitebait, either free-lined or under a bobber have been the most effective presentation. Another option on moving water is snook fishing.  These fish are starting to come out of the backwaters as large fish are being seen posting up on flats and spoil islands in the intercostal.  Other fish still remain in local bayous and canals.  Snook fishing has not hit it's "full stride" yet, but spending an hour a trip targeting these fish may result in a quality fish or two.  Snook season remains open until the end of this month.

Tampa / Clearwater fishing for redfish during the earlier part of March was compromised by several late cold fronts but it is likely that the last front has now come and gone and, as a result, this fishing has stabilized.  Upper and over slot fish have been the norm over the course of the last week.  Live pinfish have been the ticket, with cut bait being second runner up.  Both, pitched in tight to the mangroves on higher phases of the tide, have led to dependable results. Tighten those drags after trout fishing though as some of the fish are pushing 8 - 10 pounds.  There is no reason that this fishing shouldn't be strong going forward for the next three to four months.  Redfish provide good table fare, eat when found and pull hard....all great characteristics for any gamefish.

With perfect weather available in the coming month, it's a great time of year for outdoor activities.  A great choice for families with kids is TreeUmph Adventure Courses, where families work their way through an elevated obstacle course. Another would be Busch Gardens...great rides and excellent wildlife viewing. Good luck and good fishing.

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