Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fishing Options when the Heat is ON

With day time temperatures reaching ninety degrees pretty consistently and with water temperatures almost as high, some creativity is required to put fish on the deck. The heat tolerant redfish is certainly one option.  Several large schools are patrolling local waters but they are not necessarily easy to catch.  These fish are easiest to see on lower water when their movements cause a visible surface commotion. A cautious approach is required to get within casting range and, in some cases, it’s necessary to just anchor up in the general area and let the fish come to you.  Cut baits and whole pinfish both seem to be effective.  A recent trip on high water along the mangroves did not produce many strikes so this lower tide approach may be best right now.

Another hot weather tactic is to head outside to the open ocean.  Recent trips into water depths of 25 to thirty feet have yielded a variety of species.  Artificial reefs and larger structures are holding mangrove snapper in the 12 to 16 inch range…a fish that has been somewhat scarce in near shore waters the last few years.  The crafty fish require heavy chumming and carefully presented baits to elicit strikes.  After fish are visible in the chum slick, cut chunks of whitebait should be drifted on slack lines back to the fish so that these baits drop to the bottom completely naturally.  When the slack line jumps or begins to tighten, the bail should be flipped over and the angler should reel down to set the hook.  Although still a bit warm for Spanish mackerel, these fish have shown up on a few occasions in the last week.  In one instance, the mackerel attracted a few barracuda, which resulted in a 25 lbs fish being brought to gaff.  There’s always the possibility of a shark or cobia joining the party as well.  That’s one benefit of fishing the open ocean. You can never be sure what might show up.

If the snapper don’t co-operate, there are a few legal grouper swimming around in these same water depths.  Expect to have to sort through numerous shorts to find one or two keepers per trip.  Although the numbers of these near shore grouper appear to be dwindling, reinforcements should arrive once water temps start to drop later next month. The good news is that the water temperatures should begin to drop in the next few weeks and this will ignite better fishing in near shore waters.





Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters           


Fishing report from Captain Jason Prieto

Fall Fishing Is Right Around The Corner

If you walk outside right now it is hard to believe that we are at the end of the summer. With temperatures  in the mid 90s and humidity at its peak if you we didn't know any better you would be hard to convenience that in less than a month it would fall. September is that month that fish start to make that transition from summer to fall. This means that flats fishing will be some of the best of the year.

Snook- fishing will really start to turn on this month as fish start to transition from the spoil islands, beaches and bridges to the flats and backcountry around Tampa Bay. The best bite will be around that first cold fronts we get. If probably wont bring to cold of air but dropping that water temperature just a few degrees will make all the difference. Snook are primarily targeted with live bait so a live well full of Sardines will ensure for a great day. Bait should hold on the flats until November and remember to bring you 10 foot ¼ inch mesh net as bait is still running small, Calusa or Lee Fisher is the recommended choice. For all you Old Salts its time to get your flats tackle out and get ready for some good fishing. For the beginners that are not sure what tackle to use here is what you will find on my boat in the fall season. 8 foot St Croix Medium Action Rod matched with a the all new Wave Spin 2500 Spinning reels. Line of choice would have to be Fins 10 lb wind tamer, 30 lb Ohero Fluorocarbon leader and a #1 or 1/0 Daiichi wide gap circle hook. Simple but effective.

Redfish are also tops on the list as schools start to gather up by the hundreds. Big schools will school up on certain flats in just about every area in Tampa Bay. Finding schools can be time consuming but once you find a big school of Reds that are biting it can be an Epic day on the water. Redfish are a roaming fish. This means that while they might hang around in the same general areas don't think that you will find the school in the exact same spot as last week. These fish move around day to day and have a lot of things to make them move. If you come to an area and don't find that Money school of 300 fish do worry, sometimes you will find single fish that are scattered. Fishing the schools of mullet is a very productive method and you may find to catch more fish in the schools of mullet than when you found that big school of fish. Artificial baits work great when targeting Redfish, sometimes they will out produce live bait depending on the situation. If you find a school of fish that are eating everything you throw at them but wont sit still, I will take a Miro-Lure Miro-Dine all day long. Mix this with a fast retrieve and you will have bent rods for as long as you would like.

Trout is the last of the big three. You can expect to see Trout start to really take off once the water temperatures drop. Trout will make there venture into the back country. Both live and artificial baits are good options. If you are a live bait type of angler using the Cajun Thunder Back Bay floats with the proven "clacking technique". Trout love noise and this works every time. If you want to use some artificial baits I like to use a Cajun Thunder float matched with a Z Man shrimpz. Using the same technique as mentioned above will be the ticket to success. Areas of interest will be grass flats with healthy grass and good tidal flow. The rest will fall into place. Good habitat brings bait and predator fish. Fall fishing is a blast so get out and catch you some fish.


Capt. Jason Prieto
813-727-9890
 Owner: Steady Action Fishing Charters
steadyactionfishingcharters.com
captjasonp@gmail.com

Regional Director
 Florida Guides Association

Co Host:
Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio
1040 Tampa Bay NBC Sports
Airing Every Sunday Mornings from 8 to 9 AM



Outdoor Writer:
Tampa Tribune South Shore
Onshore/Offshore Magazine
Gaff Magazine

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Capt. Brian Fishing Report

Whats Hot: In late summer as inshore fishing tends to slow, focusing on nearshore rockpiles and ledges can give hours of great action. There have been plenty of grouper as well as grunts, mangrove snapper and a few spanish mackerel inhabiting the structures with the most bait schools. Once the action slows on any given location, we move on to the next spot. There are several nearshore rocks and good live bottom areas, holding grouper from 2 - 9 miles off the northern Pinellas coast. It may take several moves and a lot of short fish to get keepers. The rock piles attracting swarms of hatchling baits are producing the most keeper size grouper.
Tackle: On conventional reels, use 40 lb mainline and 50 - 80 lb leader, circle hooks, and a 4 oz weight to get to the bottom. Light spinning tackle with 15 - 20lb line can offer even more exciting action, but be prepared for break offs if larger fish take hold. Pieces of cut squid on a small hook with a light split shot will get grunts on almost every drop when around the rocks.
Tip: Mangrove snapper are always wary and sometimes difficult. Chumming with small cut pieces of bait can bring them up, away from the protection of structure. Often times I will rig a rod with several feet of 15 lb monofilament to get a bite from these cautious but tasty fish.

727-365-7560
brian@captbrian.com

Kayak Fishing Tampa Bay


Baitfish maturing all over the Tampa Bay region will attract a variety of species.   You name it, we've got it!   Mackerel, ladyfish, jacks, tarpon, snapper, flounder and speckled trout will be located around the baitfish schools anywhere in the area.  The other species, listed below, are also being caught with relative ease.   Hovering birds tip off the location of feeding fish and exciting action.  For another month, best results will remain:  early morning, very late afternoon or the nighttime fishing.  
A continued trend to close out summer at Strike Three Kayak Fishing, pompano trips.   Their arrival, pretty much right on schedule, the Silly Willy with a teaser setup has connected on three species almost every outing.  The desired pompano; the coveted cobia and the dreaded drum.    OK, so it is not the end of the world to have the rod bent by big ugly drum but they are big enough where you will lose some tackle if you cannot move them off the bottom and away from the pilings.    A glut of 35 to 70-pound drum.       
So many people saw this and wanted to go but more for a big drum battle than for pompano.    Drum by kayak is a challenge, something that I make easier and more successful than you would be able to do on your own.    And, as the clients realize, they get the safety training in fishing deep water, heavy current in a small plastic boat.   And they get their picture with their Beast.  
Pompano:   They need to be 11 inches to keep and you can keep six. That's the regs.   If you ask me, it is best to not keep the barely legal fish and keep fishing for the fatter fish.    On the dinner table, they are excellent and you have wide-open options on preparation.  You could put a pompano in a shoe for two days and eat it and it would still be good.  
Flounder are another great option.   They are in great size and number in the right locations.    I use nothing but lures.  The number of flounder over 18 inches is a record number this year.
Mangrove snapper:  If you can't catch one right now, you may never be able to get one.    EASY action on this species.   The only species other than sheepshead that I can't effectively target with lures, it is a monster year for snapper!
Redfish catches have gotten much better with also the location of this species where they should have been in the spring.    The action and locating of redfish has actually gotten better even with the oppressive heat that the beginning of August brings. The bite just isn't incredibly long in length.

Poachers are common thieves.    See a poacher, report a poacher!  If you suspect a wildlife or boating law violation, report it to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Reward Program: 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Cell phone users can reach us at *FWC or #FWC, depending on your service provider.
Most cell phones allow users to send text messages directly to an email address. You can text Tip@MyFWC.com; standard usage fees may apply.
Supply as much detailed information such as the location of the offender, the boat description, number of people on board, clothing, vehicle information and give the dispatcher your phone number.      Do this discreetly.   You do not want to have direct contact with these people.
Call to book a trip if you want to get in on the fun. 
As always: Be careful out there!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July Grouper Fishing

Typically, fishing for grouper in July is purely an offshore event. Due to the more restrictive regulations over the last few years, populations of keeper grouper inside of 10 miles appear to be on the rise however. Fish to thirty inches have been caught in the last few weeks.  As these grouper are not really concentrated in these depths at this time of year, patience is the key to landing fish big enough to take home for dinner.  Starting out with baits that are oily and create a lot of “small fish activity” is a good approach. Baits such as squid or frozen sardines are perfect examples of this. 
 
Oftentimes, small fish, such as Key West Grunts, are the first to come to the boat but, eventually, if fishing the right area, grouper will follow. Once grouper start to be caught, the action usually picks up for a short while and, in many cases, the fish size progresses from smaller to larger fish during this increase in action…then the bite slows again.  It’s time to leave at this point and start the process over at another location.  Both gag and red grouper are available in 35 to forty foot depths.  These near shore fish will likely be slowly fished out as the summer progresses.  Replacements for these fish will start to arrive in September and October when local waters begin to cool.  At this point, look for the best near shore grouper action of the year, with limit fishing a realistic expectation within 10 miles of shore.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters           


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Capt. Brian Caudill Fishing Report

Hi everyone! Welcome to my latest fishing report. We are in the middle of summer and as usual, we have to adjust to the temperature and behavior of the fish we target. I have had most success around the moon phases with the best tidal flows. Mid- July has had a surprisingly high number of Tarpon in my area as well, kind of a nice bonus, although the numbers are starting to dwindle.
Snook have been gathering in good numbers around the jetties and troughs on the beach. I am using grunts (pigfish) caught in pinfish traps I set out each day. Also, sardines have started to work well again as the small hatchling baits have taken over the beaches and the flats. Snook will begin to leave these areas in late summer after they have spawned, but for now there a few left around to pick on.
Redfish have been best on the higher tides. I have caught the majority of Reds around the mangroves and oyster bars, coming out after the high tides start to turn, eating as they exit the cover of the bushes. Most fish are at the top of the slot 25 - 28 inches. Cut baits have worked best since there aren't great numbers of fish to target. The scent of cut pinfish attracts them, however patience is the key. Sometimes the bites are spread out over time.
Tarpon season was good! I started out fishing around the Skyway bridge until the population of fish increased in my home waters of Dunedin. Several fish were caught and released, the biggest around 150 lbs. I utilized different methods depending on the area. Around the bridge, I used a chunking method. Cutting threadfins and sardines, letting the pieces drift back with the tide. Then, freelining a cut piece on a hook, enticing a Tarpon to eat. On the beaches, I floated grunts or pinfish 5 - 6 feet under a cork in the path of fish moving with the tides. There are fewer groups in the area now, mostly single fish making their way south.
Trout, Flounder, and even Grouper are still fish we can target. Some days we have to change things up to keep the bite going. I will always give my best effort even when the fishing is slow. Over the next month I expect to see the best bite in the morning. The sunny days will continue heating the water, pushing fish to deeper edges and higher tidal flows to stay cool.
There is still plenty of fishing left to do before the kiddos go back to school. If you've been thinking about a trip, now is a great time to book with me! Don't let summer slip by! Let's go fishing!

Capt. Brian
www.captbrian.com
727-365-7560

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Captain Jason Prieto Fishing Report

Mangrove Snapper Invade Tampa Bay!!!

Summer is hear and weather is VERY hot. This doesn't slow fishing down in Tampa Bay,you just have to adjust what you target and fishing around the heat. I have a very simple but proven strategy, fish early and move to deeper water.
This fit's the mold for Mangrove Snapper as they invade most wrecks and reefs throughout Tampa Bay. Snapper fishing is some of the best fishing of the year. You can find hundreds of fish on the any type of structure. Small Greenbacks is the bait of choice and it is plentiful on the flats during the summer months.

Tackle of choice is your typical flats spinning rig with the only change is downsizing you hook to a #1 circle hook and adding the adequate amount of weight to get bait down. Last but not least is fishing around the tides. I have found to have the best Snapper fishing on a slower tide OR the beginning and end of an tide. The slower current will enable you to get your bait to the bottom. The rest is just catching fish. 

Snapper fishing can make for some good summer fishing and great for the dinner table. Tight lines!




Capt. Jason Prieto
813-727-9890
 Owner: Steady Action Fishing Charters
steadyactionfishingcharters.com
captjasonp@gmail.com

Regional Director
 Florida Guides Association

Co Host:
Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio
1040 Tampa Bay NBC Sports
Airing Every Sunday Mornings from 8 to 9 AM



Outdoor Writer:
Tampa Tribune South Shore
Onshore/Offshore Magazine
Gaff Magazine

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summertime Snook


I recently headed out to catch some nice Summertime Snook. It was very hot . The weatherman said it would get over 93 deg, with a 40% chance of afternoon thunder storms. Sound familiar? The tide was going to be high @ 2:46 pm. I started out catching 9 Grass Grunts and several Pinfish of assorted sizes. Then headed for a favorite 'Snook Spot' along Caladesi Island. I selected an area with a bluegreen trough that is a adjacent to a sandy bar with lots of current. I anchored up so my kayak would be along the edge of the trough, but on the sandy bar a bit. That way I could keep the wind, WNW to NW at my back and the trough and the sun in my face. This place is a good spot so I wanted to ready, right away. I grabbed a rod and reel, but discovered that I only had a 20# flourocarbon leader. From then on I would be on the edge of what I would call the safe # test leader needed to consistently catch big Snook. So then I checked my tackle bag and found I was without 30# flourocarbon leader. Got to go any way!  If I get a hit I need to start reeling very fast in order to get a good hookset and get the hook in the Snook's lip rather than down in side her mouth which would generally get sheared off by drag pressure and/or  the abrasive teeth inside the Snook's mouth.  I selected a big fat Grunt, which I hooked up through the nose, with a #4/0 Owner Cutting Point hook ( I use cutting point hooks because they penetrate through a Grunt's nose easier )and then freelined the grunt down current, through the bluegreen trough. It only took a few seconds and the Grunt was taken by a 35" Snook. On the next three casts ( which resemble an under hand toss, because the Grunts are so large that an overhand cast would usually kill the Grunt ), the results were similar, with one exception, the 4th Snook  broke my leader ( even though I cut off the 4"-5"of frayed leader after each fish) . Where is that 30# leader ,when you need it ??  With that, the Snook stopped biting. I fished Live grunts and Pinfish to no avail, for about 30 more minutes. During those 30 minutes, it seemed like every recreational kayaker and SUP paddler out there decided that where I was fishing would be a great spot to cavort around, even though they were going over my lines ( I didn't hook anyone ).  I guess no harm, no foul. Then I decided to try something else. I cut up a dead Grunt into 2 nice sized chunks and changed to a #2/0 Mutu Light Owner Circle hook and casted right back in the same bluegreen trough and the fun started again.  I caught one and had one break my line, again.
I had a pretty good day. I caught 3 Snook on live Grunts 1@ 35", 1@ 33", 1@ 37" and lost one. On cut bait I caught 1 Snook @ 35" and lost one. Remember, if the Snook quit biting, try some other method. They may still be hungry but won't bite until you show them an alternative.  Good Luck and Tight Lines!    Kayak Bob     PS  Don't forget the 30# flourocarbon leader material. I have learned my lesson.

Kayak Fishing Tampa Bay


Big drum are a challenge by kayak.   Can you get them away from the pilings like Abe did? 
July is a month for incredible fishing.    For the overall Tampa Bay area expect redfish, trout, flounder, black drum and some pompano to be great targets.   The trick to getting in on action is to use your "night vision".   Anglers who transition to low-light fishing do much better than those who fish at midday.  

For pompano and flounder, try the Gulf passes just before sunrise when the tides are flowing.    The yellow Silly Willy with a pink teaser is a great pompano "catcher".    The 12 Fathom 3-inch Mullet on a ¼ ounce jighead can be fished deep in the Pass to tempt flounder, many of which will be near 20-inches in length.   The pass action may be trumped by the bridge options.   The same Silly Willy/Teaser rig will tempt pompano and black drum at the bridges.   

For redfish and trout, get on the grassflats that get good tidal flush and work the areas that hold baitfish schools.    Keep moving until you find significant food sources and then make long casts into that area to connect on beautiful trout and hard-fighting redfish.   The water temperatures have soared so be ready to shift to another target if these fish aren't eating.   The passes and bridges mentioned above are a "best bet" if the fish are sulking in the shallow hot water.  

Flounder exited some of the inshore areas but are being caught around the passes and nearshore structure.  They should move back in again before too long.   The 12 Fathom SlamR and Mullet are great flounder baits. 

Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 
www.strikethreekayakfishing.com
(Cell) 727-692-6345 
LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator: 
www.capmel.com
Co-host: Outdoor Fishing Adventures, 8 to 9AM Sundays on 1040 "The Team" ESPN Radio

More reports by Neil Taylor
Lower Tampa Bay report:    http://www.capmel.com/index.php/article/165
Capmel.com "The Kayak Report":    
http://www.capmel.com/index.php/article/198Upper Tampa Bay report:     http://www.capmel.com/index.php/article/166  


Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Heat Is ON but Snook Don't Care

A July begins, fishing for large snook is in mid stride and chances for catching a fish in the mid to high thirties (inches) exists every day…good tide or not. Areas like Honeymoon Island and Caledesi State Parks are excellent locations to track down this great gamefish.  With the Fourth of July Weekend just about over, local fishing pressure should return to normal with the "long weekend warriors" heading back to work.. 

The good news about snook is that they are very predictable in terms of where they hold.  They return to the same locations every year unless sands have shifted and their favorite cuts and swash channels have been filled in. Therefore, they are easy to find. Granted, fish typically show up in a few new locations each year, but even these spots are predictable…new deeper cuts near passes with good water flow. To make locating them even easier, these fish are quite often very visible as they are in shallow and clear water.

So why do anglers say that snook are “smart” or hard to catch. This is mostly a function of their feeding habits.  Snook will bite with reckless abandon…if you are lucky enough to arrive when they are hungry.  A more common scenario is to pull up on fish, maybe 20 or 30 of them that are plainly visible, and cast at them for 15 to 20 minutes with not one fish showing any interest.  If the angler is lucky enough to not spook them off during this time maybe, after 30 minutes, a fish eats, followed by two more and, in a matter of minutes, the fishing day has gone from no fish to three very nice fish. Patience is a key to snook fishing.  Typically, several groups of fish need to be targeted before the reward of a first bite is achieved. Don’t spend too much time picture taking or admiring your catch.  Take your picture, revive your fish carefully and get back in the game. The clock is ticking before they shut off again.
 
As most of these beach locations are free from structure, these large fish may be caught on relatively light tackle.  Just remember that when a fish is landed, keep it in the water except for when a picture is actually being taken and do not release a fish until it can easily and comfortably swim away on it’s own. If dolphins are in the immediate vicinity, slowly trolling motor away from the area or up close to the beach or structure you are fishing in order to minimize the chance of the dolphin getting an easy meal once your fish is released.



Captain Stewart Ames
Gone Fishing Charters