Want to update everyone who fishes in the Tampa Bay area with my weekend fishing report. Went out for a couple days of fishing with some good friends of mine and thought I’d share that with you guys.
Went out with my buddies on their boat Saturday late afternoon and fished off some grass flats and oyster bars in Tampa Bay (sorry can’t disclose any honey holes). Didn’t have enough time to look for whitebait so we bought some jumbo shrimp before launching the boat. Launched the boat and made our way to the first spot (actually was the only spot we hit Saturday as we got a late start). We pulled to the spot and anchored our boat with the powerpole. We began casting and immediately we’re pulling redfish in. They were in a frenzy and we’re crushing the shrimp. All small fish, around 13-15in, but they were pudgy which means they must be eating a ton while the warmer water is around briefly before it gets cold again. We did manage one slot red but everything else we caught (reds, trout, ladyfish and a bonnethead shark) we’re all very small. There were 4 of us and we caught around 17-20 fish total within 2 hours.
Sunday we fished all day. Launched out of Cockroach bay and made our way to hunt for whitebait. You don’t have to run to the skyway for bait (although we heard they are stacked out there). We pulled up to a few channel markers and finally were marking bait on the fish finder. We casted a few times and filled the baitwell up with some decent bait. Hardly any threads. Decent size too, around 2-3in. We caught one snook and lots of trout that day but that was it. We had some nice slot size trout that we caught and one trout that had no spots which I’ve never seen before. We also had shrimp so we fished with both white bait and shrimp. Shrimp seemed to be the better choice.
Weather was perfect, fish were biting but nothing worth taking a picture of. Bait can be found in the bay but shrimp seemed to have worked better. We fished the outside part of the bay. Talked to some guys at the boat ramp when we got back and they said the river (Manatee) had some great redfish action but you needed a flats boat or kayak to go where they were talking about.
Our boat was a 24” Sheaffer bay boat with a tower which came in handy looking for fish and maneuvering arounding in the shallow water. I was using a 7ft 6in medium action Shimano Teramar rod with a Shimano Saros 2500 on it. 10lb test green Powerpro with 20lb test fluro leader tied line to line (no swivel). Daiichi 2/o circle hook. I used a cork bobber when using shrimp and no cork when using whitebait. Sportswear I was wearing was a Columbia visor, Costa shades, Calcutta neck gaiter, Wicked Catch long sleeve performance shirt and pair of shorts. It was a bit chilly out when running from spot to spot so I would recommend bringing a light wind breaker.
If anyone is hitting up Tampa Bay I hope this post was somewhat useful.