Tampa Fishing Reports

April 2008 Fishing Report

March is always a transition month and this March was no different. Several warming trends were abruptly ended by significant temperature drops which dashed hopes of getting a decent snook bite going this past month. April's temperatures will moderate, however, and the result should be some consistent snook action. Whitebait has been available for several weeks now and with a warm first week in April, seventy degree plus water should be here to stay. Dormant snook will come to life and begin to eat. Look for them along mangrove shorelines that receive a healthy dose of morning sun, as well as in the deeper canal and creek mouthes. Intent on ingesting lots of protein in advance of thier summer spawn, these snook will feed very aggressively. "Fly lining" un-weighted whitebaits on a #1 or #2 circle hook is highly productive. Leave your bail open to both allow your bait to swim freely but also to give a charging snook time to eat the bait and turn with it. After the strike, click your bail over, reel down and hang on. Redfish did begin to school up in March and fishing for these flats bruisers should continue to improve in the coming month as well. Stake out your favorite flat and watch for activity from mullet or the reds themselves. These fish may be very "noise sensitive' so approach slowly. Once you feel you are in close proximity to a group of fish, chumming with cut or whole whitebait can be an effective means to get these fish both closer to you and in an eating mood. Lightly weighted and bobbered baits will both work on the flats. On the weaker tide days when reds may not push up onto the flats as well, try your favorite docks. Fish may come one or two at a time but you can put together a pretty good day by methodically moving from dock to dock and there's always the possibility of finding a "mother load" under a given dock. Split shotting cut bait is a great approach here. Seatrout did continue to bite pretty well in March and should be available through this month. Most of these larger fish will be gone by next month though, not returning until late November. Bobbered shrimp will still take their share of fish as will whitebait. On certain mornings, fish may show a distinct preference for one bait over another so come equipped with both if you are targeting trout. Along with the improved snook bite in April, we should see other species re-appearing including spanish mackerel, kingfish, and bonita. Sharks should be right behind them. Late March did provide several good days of cobia fishing. Although no large fish were caught on our near shore flats, fish in the 70 lbs range were sighted and numerous multiple fish days were recorded. There's nothing quite like watching a cobia peel off a ray and shoot ten yards to inhale a plastic eel in crystal clear, four foot deep water. This fishing will test both your fish spotting and casting ability and is highly rewarding. Spring has finally sprung, so get out on the water and expect good things this month. Good luck.

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