Spring is in the air, but April started out a bit cooler than anticipated with consistent strong winds out of the Southwest leaving near nearshore waters a bit murky for the highly anticipated King Mackerel and Cobia migrations. On the on the days when winds were light enough to venture out, the cooler temperatures kept the Grouper bite red hot and close in. Gulf temperatures have still been lingering in the low 70’s but with above normal highs projected through the end of the week, we look forward to a resurgence in the King Mackerel bite and Tarpon beginning to show with consistency.

Offshore - Gag Grouper season opened 1 April and keeper fish are still being caught in as little as 30 feet of water. Best baits to start are cut Cigar Minnows and Spanish Sardines, then switching over to large Pinfish. Setting up a chum slick and free-lining live bait has also enticed some of the early big Kingfish who have shown up in deeper water. Don’t be surprised if a Barracuda or two also pays you a visit; last week anglers aboard the Ms. Guided enjoyed a 6 footer who set up shop right near the boat. Anglers also enjoyed a mixed bag of Key West Pork Chops (Grunts) and some very nice Mangrove Snapper which helped round out the catch for the dinner table.

Inshore - Snook have been the talk of the town as they have started moving out of the backwaters, cruising the flats, and working their way towards the beaches. Artificials have been moderately effective early morning and late afternoon, but nothing can beat a blacked out live-well and a Wiffle Ball Bat to pull big Snook out of the Mangroves on a higher tide. Recommend starting by slinging freebees out there and once the Snook are turned on, they will readily strike pitched whitebait on a 1/0 Circle Hook. The Snook action has been non-stop with trips aboard the Ms. Guided producing as many as 50 fish in half a day. Trout and Redfish are still out there too. When it comes to Redfish, fishing pressure on the schools around Tampa has been high, especially near Fort DeSoto. Exercise proper etiquette to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get in on the excitement. As for Trout, the action is still good too. Many schoolies can be caught near drops in patchy grass flats on jig heads and soft plastics, but if you want the big Gators... go shallow, go early, and go with big topwater plugs.

[img]<a href="http://s688.photobucket.com/albums/vv243/cjflats/?action=view&current=CJFlatsTampaSnook.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i688.photobucket.com/albums/vv243/cjflats/CJFlatsTampaSnook.jpg" border="0" alt="Tampa Florida Fishing Report"></a>[/img]

Last edited by Captain Jay Schroeder; 04/26/09 06:35 PM.

Captain Jay Schroeder
CJ Flats Saltwater Charters