Tampa Bay Fishing Report August 2008

Archived in the category: Fishing Reports
Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Tampa Bay Fishing Report August 2008

Fishing the tides:

Understanding tides, knowing what causes them, and comprehending how they work can definitely affect your productivity. Moving water dramatically affects feeding patterns in fish and especially in areas with strong tidal flows.

The bite in Tampa Bay for example is practically non-existent on slack tides. However, let the water begin flowing and hang onto you rod and reel because the bites about to turn on. It’s actually fairly simply, the tides move, the tidal currents flow, the bait swims and the fish feed.

Snook One more month and the season opens again on September 1, 2009. There are plenty of Snook lurking around piece of structure and open grass flat throughout Tampa Bay. Pick a good incoming high tide and check out you favorite grass line, broken bottom grass flat and the mangrove shorelines.

The best live bait is a greenback about 3.5 to 5 inches long and to get them means throwing that dreaded cast net. If you’re catching bait on the flats check bait size before you load up that net. If they are still small you might want to use a ¼ inch net instead of the 3/8 inch. No one likes a Christmas tree first thing in the morning. You don’t need to use greenbacks Snook also eat things like pinfish, shrimp, threadfins, grunts and artificial lures.

One of my “walk-the-dog” topwater favorites is a lure manufactured by High Roller Lure Company (www.highrollerlures.com). The 4.25″ High RollerTM is one of the most versatile topwater lures I’ve fished. Originally designed for Largemouth Bass in freshwater it’s characterized by its long casting ability and highly active back and forth jumping motion; I’ve found it deadly for a variety of elusive and exciting saltwater fish, specifically: Snook, Redfish, and Spotted Sea Trout. High Roller manufactures a variety of lures from stick baits to poppers and they all work equally well in saltwater applications.

Here’s a tip/secret for nighttime anglers looking for really large Snook. Use the large 7.5 inch RipRollersTM around bridges, structure and hang on. Originally, designed for Peacock Bass fishing this lure is a surefire big Snook lure. But don’t tell anybody else.

Redfish We’re seeing some nice Redfish pushing into shallower water looking for food on incoming tides. Find a large school of mullet and you’ll normally find a few Redfish. Green backs, small pinfish, shrimp, and for those that like pitching soft plastics are excellent baits for a few Redfish.

Sea Trout I’ve caught more big Trout this summer since before the last big Red Tide fiasco a few years ago when it seemed like they had disappeared for the bay. Well they’re back, and bigger than ever. Find a deepwater grass flat free-line a greenback or shrimp over some and its Trout for dinner. Paradise Poppers bobbers with a medium split-shot about 8″ above a 2/0 circle hook and work the cork by popping it, letting it set a moment, then popping it again.

Don’t be surprise if fishing deep water if you catch Mackerel, Bluefish, Ladyfish, Jacks, Sharks and of course Trout. Topwater popping plugs like High Roller’s ChugRollerTM is a great Trout lure or soft plastic jerkbaits over any deep broken bottom grass can offer artificial anglers some nice action.

Mackerel, Sharks, Cobia, and Tarpon Big Mack’s are everywhere in Tampa Bay. You must fish a moving tide and they’re feeding on anything that swims. Hang a chum block over the side, rig up using 60 # Seaguar leader and long shank hooks, hook a large greenback or threadfin at the joint near the pectoral fin, cast it out and hang on. If you want a few sharks try cutting chunks of Threadfins or Greenbacks tossing them out in the current… the sharks will come.
We’re catching some really big Mackerel with many measuring 30″ and weighing 5 to 6 lbs. Remember, that big Snook secret? It works on big Mackerel and Sharks. Take a fairly calm day, toss out a few chum baits to get them working and work the HighRollerTM 7.5 or 6.5 inch RipRollerTM across the surface. There is nothing as exciting as having a 5 or six foot shark take it on the surface. (use 90 to 120 # Tyger Leader/wire leader and bend down the barbs).

Cobia: I’ve been seeing a few Cobias around the bay most are cruising markers and cans or following large rays or manatees around the flats. When Mackerel fishing with a chum block keep you eyes open as Cobia’s like to hang around you boat. If you net your bait keep a few smaller pinfish and use them for the Cobia.

Tarpon: Plenty of Tarpon at the Skyway, Egmont and on the beaches. Large Greenbacks, Threadfins, or a crab should do the trick. Some are also showing up around the bridges at night. Don’t be surprised is you bait get eaten by a large shark as plenty of them also cruise the bridges during the evening hours.