Hi everyone. Travis back with your fishing update (I know, I haven't had one in a while for you, but here it is, straight from Capt. Ames) -
Although spring was late, summer has arrived right on schedule and the fish are behaving accordingly. The majority of our large seatrout have exited the shallow grass flats. Some still reside along our beaches but many of these fish will soon depart. With that said, that does not mean that lunker trout aren't around. Large fish are still present in reduced numbers. White bait is preferred but several out-sized trout were caught last month on cut bait laid out on a flat for redfish. Smaller trout will remain a common catch through the summer. Larger fish will tend to congregate in the deeper potholes and near channel edges.
More snook have been seem over the last 30 days but it is now clear that this last winter's cold spell had a major impact. These snook are simply nowhere to be seen in some of their normal haunts and when groups of fish are sighted, the numbers of fish per group is much less than in the past. Catching one is not out of the questions but it is best to pursue these fish only when your chances are best...the low light periods of dawn and dusk and on strong outgoing tides. White bait, small ladyfish and grass grunts remain the baits of choice. Fly line these offerings (un-weighted) unless the tide is really ripping through the area being fished. In this case, a light split shot may increase your odds of hooking up.
Redfish have been a dependable catch on any day with a decent tide. Like any animal during the summer months, these fish want to be out of the sun and will seek the shade of an overhanging mangrove or residential dock, if available. Both usually are on the higher phases of the tide. During summer, redfish seem to be much less discriminating in regards to what they will eat....shrimp, crabs, pinfish, grunts, whitebait, and cut bait of all flavors will suffice...so use whatever is readily available. Although a few fish in the twenty two to twenty three inch range were caught over the last month, the majority of fish are still on the larger end of the slot or over. Good redfishing is being reported from Anclote all the way south to Clearwater Bay so there are plenty of fish around..
On near shore reefs, action has started to wind down a little bit on species such as kingfish and bonita, although some will likely stay in residence through this month. Both of these can still be found as summer's heat settles in, but they'll push to deeper water. Spanish mackerel should remain and, as we get another month or two deeper into the summer, mangrove snapper should start to show as well.
Good numbers of tarpon can now be found off of local beaches. East winds and calm seas greatly enhance opportunities to spot these fish. Although finicky on some days and not available in the numbers found in such places as the Skyway or Boca Grande, there are enough fish locally to have a shot at hooking a fish on any given day. Although tarpon can be seen crossing the near shore sand bars that lie just west of our barrier islands, these fish are extremely spooky. For this reason, an easier approach for the inexperienced tarpon angler would be to either fish the channel edges of these flats or set up 100 yards off of the beach in an area where tarpon have been seen rolling. Baits such as large threadfin herring or pilchards work well. Pass crabs are also an excellent choice if you can get your hands on them.
Fish all of these baits with no weight to approaching fish . The pilchards or threadfins can be fished on the bottom in these areas as well. Plan on setting up for a few hours and being patient. If it was easy to hook a hundred pound plus fish, everyone would be doing it. Also, understand the power of these fish and tackle up accordingly. A heavy 7.5 foot spinning rods with a minimum of 40 lbs test and eighty pound flourocarbon leader would be a good starting point. Do make sure your reel has plenty of line capacity as well (300 - 400 yards) as the first run of a tarpon will easily take several hundred yards of line. Lastly, tie an anchor ball to your anchor line so you can simply "thow it and go" when you hook a fish.
In summary, June provides a great deal of fishing opportunities so pick your target, get out on the water and get after it. Good luck and good fishing.
And there you have it. If you go out, good luck! YOu can bet you'll find me out there. See you back here for more updates, including great things to do in Tampa Bay, and other Tampa Bay area events.