Michael Wilson | Correspondent
Fish of the Week
Snook: The snook bite continues to be very good for Tampa Bay area anglers and locations elsewhere. The fish are on the move and feeding aggressively for the upcoming spawn.
Strike Zone, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Elsewhere
1: At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, Spanish mackerel have been caught every day this past week and a juvenile kingfish was also caught over the weekend. Steady numbers of pompano, sheepshead, speckled trout, jack crevalle and blue runners have also been caught. A few lane snapper, were also caught on Monday, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466).
2: At Madeira Beach, the bottom bite is decent for hogfish, lane and mangrove snapper. There’s some Spanish mackerel and sporadic kingfish, but recent windy weather has spread them out. Further offshore, there’s a good red grouper bite at 100 to 110 foot. Bigger red grouper, scamp, and triggerfish are biting at the 150 to 200-foot mark, Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).
3: At John’s Pass, plenty of snook are in the pass both day and night. Snook are also starting to bite inside the pass from the jetty. Some speckled trout are biting around the dock and bridge lights at night. A few tarpon are rolling early in the morning. The redfish bite is good inside along the mangrove lines of Boca Ciega Bay, especially around Veterans Park. The jetty is producing pompano, whiting and Spanish mackerel, reports Andrew Schleissing at Gulf Coast Bait and Tackle (727-343-4181).
4: At Fort De Soto Park, big sheepshead are still biting around the marina. Good numbers of tarpon are rolling and around Tierra Verge and a couple of big fish were caught this week. A lot of blacktip sharks have been caught around Isla Del Sol. The area grass flats are producing decent numbers of trout and redfish, along with the usual bonnet heads. Redfish and trout are also biting by the campground. The Gulf Pier is producing pompano Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and both Atlantic sharpnose and blacktip sharks. The pier is also loaded with bait, mostly scaled sardines. North beach is producing a good snook bite on pinfish in the surf trough. Bunces pass is good for whiting and a few pompano. The Pass A Grille jetty is also producing some pompano, reports Capt. Claude Hinson at Tierra Verde Bait and Tackle (727-864-2108).
5: Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, snook are making their way to the passes and beaches to spawn. Plenty of snook are also still inside of the bay as well. Some nice, size keeper and over slot size trout are being caught around the Emerson Point area. Mangrove snapper fishing has really picked up inside of the bay. Some really good size fish in the 16 to 18-inch range are being caught around the Skyway, along the shipping channel, the bay reefs and most structure, reports Capt. John Gunter of Palmetto (863-838-5096). The snook bite is very good around Rattlesnake Key, Terra Ceia and the mouth of the Manatee river. Snook are moving to the passes and feeding for the upcoming spawn, reports Larry Mastry at Mastry’s Tackle (727-896-8889).
6: At Anna Maria, kingfish are still hanging off the beach in 25 to 45 feet of water. The bite should pick up again, as the winds lay at the end of the week, reports Gunter. Mangrove snapper are starting to move in around most structure and the bridges. There’s been a good kingfish bite at a depth of around 40 feet off Anna Maria, Longboat Key and south to Sarasota. Snook are moving into Longboat Pass and on the beaches just outside the pass, reports Mastry.
7: At St. Petersburg, the snook bite is good from Weedon Island south to Pinellas Point. Redfish action is also good around Weedon Island, Pinellas Point, and the docks and oyster bars around Bahama Shores south to the Misner Bridge. More and more tarpon are showing up all over the place. They’re off the beaches, at the Skyway and Tierra Verde, and up in the bay all the way to the Gandy Bridge. Good numbers of Spanish mackerel are biting off the beaches, around the Skyway and in the bay. The kingfish bite is decent nearshore in 40 feet of water, but better to the south. The mangrove snapper bite is steady around structure, along the shipping channel and on the reefs in the bay, reports Mastry.
8: In the north end of Tampa Bay, mangrove snapper are biting around the Gandy Bridge and most area structure. Black drum are being caught around the bridge pilings. Good numbers of tarpon are active along shadow lines of the bridge lights at night. Snook and speckled trout are also being caught at night around the lights. Snook and redfish are biting on the west side flats around Fourth Street and Weedon Island. Schools of “rat size” redfish have been roaming the west side of the Howard Frankland Bridge. The Picnic Island Pier is producing mangrove snapper and some snook. Redfish and a few trout are biting on the flats around the pier, reports Gandy Bait & Tackle (813-839-5551).
• At Crystal River, the snook bite is very good on live bait and glow color D.O.A. CAL shad tails along the spoil bank. “One of my clients, Mike Spain of Orlando caught his personal best, a 35-inch snook, on a live shrimp on Monday.” The outside islands and keys to the south, around Homosassa, are also producing a good snook bite, reports Capt. Marrio Castello of Tall Tales Charters (352-454-7719).
• At Fort Pierce, offshore the seas have still been rough, but there’s some mahi up to 15 pounds on the troll at a depth of 80 to 250 feet. A few kingfish have also been caught at the 80-foot mark. At the inlet, the surf is producing whiting, but the water is really dirty. There’s a really good snook bite on live bait inside the inlet, but bull sharks moved in this past week and are taking many of the snook during the fight. Inside, some mangrove snapper are biting from the bridge catwalks. Sand perch are biting at the Melody Lane Pier and the little bit of runoff is producing snook at the Juanita Spillway, Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637).
Compiled By Michael Wilson / Ledger Correspondent