Tampa Fishing Reports

July 2009 Fishing Report

Tampa fishing efforts over the last month were primarily focused on snook and redfish, however on weaker tide days, several trips were run to near shore reefs and rock piles. The excitement of these trips is that you never know what's going to show up. Large Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper were dependable targets earlier in the last month, but bonita, kingfish, cobia and barracuda would all make occasional appearances. The key to maximizing your Tampa fishing trips to these areas is to arrive with plenty of whitebait and be prepared to distribute it liberally. This will bring any predator in the neighborhood to the back of your boat in pretty short order. Steel leaders are a must when targeting anything other than snapper and grouper as most of the other residents have a good set of teeth. Tampa fishing on near shore reefs tends to slow down as summer progresses but still may represent a good alternative on "weak tide" days. Redfishing was excellent during the last strong tide phase in June. When targeting this species at this time of year, remember that they will seek shelter from summer's heat in the shade of docks and mangroves. This being the case, a highly effective approach is to throw cut baits to the mangrove edges and under docks. Leave a bait just a few feet from the shade and you may catch no fish. Yet, make a precision cast into a shaded, recessed area along a mangrove shoreline and hang on...a jarring redfish strike is likely to follow. Redfish are fairly "social" fish, so if you find one in an area, prospect the immediate area thoroughly as the one fish is likely to have company. If a typically productive area does not yield fish within fifteen to twenty minutes, just move on as redfish will usually eat fairly quickly when you find them. July should offer excellent Tampa fishing for redfish on any day with strong tidal movement. June means snook fishing action and this year was no different. Deep cuts along any major pass have been and will continue to hold snook. Outside beach swash channels adjacent to these passes will as well. Locating these fish is really the easy part as snook will show up in the same predictable locations every year and are often very easy to see. It's more a matter of figuring out when they want to eat. Fish snook holding areas on different phases of the tide until you figure this out. Low light periods early and late in the day will be productive as will times of heavier tidal movement. With the summer spawn still in process, these fish are hungry and will, at times, aggressively pursue a wide range of live baits. Fish these un-weighted unless tidal movement is strong. In this case, a small split shot may increase your hookups. Although a little more difficult to catch than the redfish, the initial runs and jumps of a snook will keep you coming back for more. Tampa snook fishing will become a little more difficult as summer's heat settles in but large fish will still be available in July. Another opportunity that presents itself through the summer, depending on our wind direction, is beach tarpon. These fish are still here but strong onshore winds can move these fish off our beaches. The best bet is to plan a trip for redfish and snook and then, if calm near shore waters prevail when your fishing day arrives, take an early shot at tarpon. Good luck and good fishing.

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