As May arrives, bait is generally easy to secure. The general consensus among many Tampa Fishing Guides in northern Pinellas County is that this has not necessarily been the case in the last few weeks.  Some days it's abundant, but the next it may be a struggle. So what's the strategy to find bait every day. First, additional effort is required. Being on the water earlier (usually at least 2 - 2 1/2 hours before fishing is scheduled to start) to allow time to chum a secondary location doubles the odds of finding it. Second, consider conditions. If wind is blowing in on the beach, for example, bait will be difficult to spot. Where is the water clear and well oxygenated? Generally, these are conditions that bait prefers.  Once a location is selected, chumming for 15  minutes should be a minimum before deciding bait is not present. Be patient.  If a few white baits are secured on the first throw, stay put.  If numbers don't increase or start to decline, move. This move should be to a different environment...more current, deeper, more clarity. Tampa Fishing Guides are often asked "What is the one thing that I can do to improve my fishing success?" Learning to throw a cast net and securing white bait on a consistent basis is the answer.

Monster Spring Seatrout In Clearwater

April continued to produce reasonably good fishing for larger redfish and trout although, as May approached, catching bigger trout definitely became more of a project. Water temperatures in the low eighties insure that the crazy big trout bite of winter is over, although isolated, large specimens can still be caught out on the beaches and occasionally will be found mixed in with schools of redfish on the flats. Most Tampa Fishing Captains accept this fact and direct more effort towards the improving snook and redfishing. The good news is that just about any bait used for a snook or a redfish...cut bait, live pinfish or pilchards...will be eaten by any stray large trout.

OverSlot redfish on Tampa Fishing Charter

Redfish remained a consistent catch over the least month and fishing will hopefully continue to improve as early summer arrives. Cut baits and whole small to medium pinfish were the only baits required. These were presented both split shotted on the bottom or under bobbers. Some locations are still producing 18 - 20 inch fish but mid to over slot fish have been caught on almost all recent Tampa Fishing Charters.  Best fishing seemed to be on the higher phases of the tide on open flats and tight to the mangroves and, as always, mullet being present seemed to increase the odds success.

Summer Snook Fishing in Tampa

Snook fishing should be on fire as temperatures have reached 80 degrees.  Backwater areas and the spoils in St Joseph's Sound are holding fewer fish now, supporting the belief that many fish have moved to the beach. Interestingly however, over the last few trips, work has been required to put snook in the boat. Beach locations are holding some fish, but not in the numbers that would be expected.  Having said this, many large fish hold off shore and it appears that these fish may not have yet moved in.  It is likely that this will happen on the next strong tide phase, which is now just a few days away. Many of these larger females should arrive with a strong pre spawn hunger and promise to provide some great entertainment.  Their presence will also concentrate the smaller males...all of which should make snook numbers go up in the near term.  Bait variety is key to catching large snook so having large pilchards and thread fins as well as grass grunts is a good start.  Additional baits such as medium sized ladyfish, large mud minnows and shad only heighten the likelihood of success. All of these should generally be presented in a free lined fashion...except in the case of strong current, where a small split shot may help pull the fish down into the strike zone.

Looking for a great local, outdoor activity for the family.  Take a canoe trip down the Hillsborough River, north of Tampa.  Canoe Escape will have all the gear. It's a great opportunity to see birds and other wildlife and get some fresh air before summer's heat really kicks in. If that sounds too strenuous, jump on the Jolley Trolley with some friends, which runs from Tarpon Springs to Clearwater, and enjoy dinner and stops at a few microbreweries along the way. Good luck and good fishing.





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