Tampa Fishing Reports

June 2009 Fishing Report

June is prime time for Tampa fishing. The large snook of every angler's dreams are stacked up along our local beaches and passes in advance of their summer spawn. By following some simple steps, catching a trophy is a distinct possibility. First, fish at the right time...early or late in the day, during low light periods, or on outgoing tides. Second, fish where the fish are. Holes and swash channels on the north and south ends of our barrier islands are likely spots. Third, come prepared with the proper bait...large pilchards, threadfins, grass grunts or small ladyfish. Fourth, present your baits in the proper fashion. Baits should be drifted through likely holding areas so that they travel at the same speed as the current. This is accomplished by "free-lining" your bait...feeding out line so that your bait is unrestrained as it passes in front of the fish. Yes, snook will hit dead bait or bait that is pinned to the bottom by a sinker, but "free-lining" is the most consistently productive approach. A key component to snook fishing is patience. Fish may watch a bait drift by twenty times and then decide to eat it on the twenty first time...so have confidence in your approach and be prepared to wait fish out. Once they start to bite, they may do so with reckless abandon for fifteen to thirty minutes, and then just shut off. It's not that snook are the smartest fish out there; they just have short, well defined feeding periods. Tampa fishing for snook should continue to be excellent through early July. Redfish action remained consistent through May. Slower days produced a half dozen slot fish. When active schools were located, the fish count might rise above twenty. Most of these fish have been 23 to 27 inches, with a larger fish showing up occasionally. Fish flats with mullet activity, on higher tide phases, for best opportunities to find roving schools of fish. Medium sized pinfish have been the bait of choice, but whitebait has been a close second. Cut baits of every kind are always effective...ladyfish, mullet, Spanish mackerel, pinfish...whatever you can get you hands on. Remember that redfish make a living eating crabs of all sizes so when they find a big, soft chunk of fish lying on the bottom, they rarely refuse it. As redfish are aggressive feeders, keep moving around if you are not getting bites. Once you get into an area that has fish, you will more than likely catch them. Tampa fishing for redfish over the next month should be strong on any day with good tidal flow. Although there are still some quality trout out on the beaches, this game is coming to an end for the summer...unless you don't mind sorting through ten small fish to catch one good one. For a change of pace, head offshore to one of our near shore reefs. Mangrove snapper are still out there in abundance and some large Spanish mackerel recently made an appearance. On each of the last three trips to these reefs, hefty cobia have been spotted. Boating a 25 lbs. cobia can change the complexion of your day in a hurry. Grouper can still be caught as well, although most of the legal fish have moved deeper with the warming water. Another Tampa fishing option is tarpon. Hooking one of these large, acrobatic fish will provide heart stopping excitement. Although the Skyway and Boca Grande have much larger concentrations of fish, there are still opportunities to catch tarpon right here along our beaches. The only problem with June fishing is deciding what to fish for. This month will come and go before you know it, so do yourself a favor and get out on the water before some of the Tampa’s best fishing of the year has passed you by. Good luck and good fishing.

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