Is it snook season?  Well, yes and no. Snook are closed to harvest starting May 1st, but the wide open bite is just beginning....and that's OK.  Yes, snook are great to eat but even more enjoyable to catch so forcing anglers to release them when they are most vulnerable to being caught is a good thing. Fish are still being found in a few backwater locations but decent numbers of snook are on the beach and it is likely that, with the next strong tide phase just a few days away, the beach population will strengthen over the next week.  Most Tampa / Clearwater Fishing captains agree that large whitebait, both threadfins and pilchards, seem to be the most effective bait at this time of year but grass grunts will certainly become an important component of the snook catching game in the fairly immediate future. As is always the case, the greater variety of baits that an angler has, the better the chances of fooling a big snook.  Large shad and small ladyfish are a great addition to the baits mentioned above. Free lining these baits is the accepted approach but bobbered baits will also draw their share of strikes.

Snook are back on the beaches Tampa and Clearwater

In mid to late April, the large, winter seatrout moved and are now being caught on both sides of Caledesi and Honeymoon islands....some in the grass, some on the beach.  Although the bite typically doesn't equal the crazy, non stop bite sometimes encountered on winter Tampa Fishing Charters, smaller groups of these fish can be found and decent limits can still be put together.  There is also a greater abundance of the smaller 14 - 16 inch male fish although 20 plus inch fish are still caught on most trips. Free lined whitebait is, far and away, the ticket for these fish. On days with weak tides where redfishing tends to be more difficult, this solid trout fishery still allows anglers to go home with dinner. Large trout fishing usually holds up through May and then noticeably tapers off in June.

Redfish and trout Fishing in Tampa

Tampa Fishing for the third member of the inshore slam team, the redfish, has been consistent but not really on fire.  Most charters in the last month have resulted in anywhere from 3 - 6 fish but, on a positive note, size has been excellent. Almost all fish brought to the dock were top of the slot...25 - 26.9999 inches...with a fair number of over slot fished released. Having said this, the majority of these fish were the result of pitching a lot of casts into a variety of mangrove shorelines. Steady "work" was required and, as is often the case, multiple fish would generally come from one or two small areas...with a lot of "dead space" in between. Most Tampa Fishing Guides prefer to work the higher phases of the tide on days with strong tides.  On weaker tides, fishing the potholes on flats or pitching into mullet schools has led to some quality fish but the result is rarely as good as on the big tide days. At this time of year though, on any given day though, a large school of fish could be found and produce  some serious redfish catching. 

Other Tampa Fishing opportunities that exist inshore now are both shark and tarpon.  Both species have been seen in decent numbers off the beaches over the last week. There may still be a few tripletail hanging around on the crab buoys and channel markers as well.

As temperatures start to warm, there are plenty of great indoor activities in the Tampa/ St Pete / Clearwater area. Among these is Sky Zone.... an entertainment venue best suited for the fit.  Sky Zone offers climbing walls, trampolines, diving into foam pits and "Ninja Warrior" type courses. For car enthusiast,visit the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum in Pinellas Park to view a wide range of vintage cars and vehicles.

Good luck and good fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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