Tampa Bay Fishing Report February 2008

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Tampa Bay Fishing Report February 2008

Tampa Bay’s Fishing Report February 2008

The good news all you southern region trout anglers… the season opened on January 1st and some cooler weather should mean plenty of fish. However, if you fish the northwest region… trout season is closed the entire month of February.

This year many anglers seemingly are taking a different position regarding Sea Trout by releasing more than they keep. Once a plentiful and seemingly endless resource, trout suffered severely during the bouts with red tide. And if we get it again it could definitely put a crimp in our slow to recover trout populations. Speaking with anglers throughout 2007 I’ve learned more are electing to release rather and fillet. However, just tossing them back in the water doesn’t mean they’ll survive. We must release them quickly, in or near the water and never use a landing net, dry hands or rags. If a photo is required do it quickly by gently. Try using one of the non-evasive bottom-lip gripping devices while holding them fish horizontally. Keep in mind they cannot breathe out of water so if you’ve ever wonder how long you should keep them out for a photo… try holding your breath until returning them to the water.

Delicious table fare and if you want some a fish or two for dinner… that’s ok… but only keep enough for a single meal. Never plan on filling the freezer with fillets that become freezer burned and thrown away after a few weeks. There’s nothing better than fresh caught fish and it gives you another excuse to go fishing…“Like we really need one”.

Trout are voracious eaters and can quickly swallow your bait causing the hook to lodge in their throat. Once this occurs even the best attempts at releasing them unharmed seems futile. So whenever trout fishing especially with live bait and even artificial’s it’s important to bend the barb down on your hooks, use a light-wire circle, (I prefer “Daiichi Bleeding Bait Circle’s”), and be quicker on your hook-set which prevents deep throat hooks. A quick hook-set does not mean a hard set… when you feel the bite, lift your rod and reel at the same time, to get your line tight, keep the rod bent preventing the barb-less hook from dislodging, and reel.

Grass flats, sandy potholes, incoming or outgoing tides live baits or artificial lures and it’s game on. Try fishing the two to three foot of water in front of Bishops Harbor, Cockroach Bay, Apollo Beach, Weedon Island, Culbreath Isles, Pinellas Point, Tarpon Key, Ft. Desoto, Boca Ciega Bay Clearwater, or Anclote Key.

Basically, you can find Snook, Redfish and Trout are found all over Tampa Bay from the southeast shore including the Alafia River, Picnic Island, Simmons Park, Bishop Harbor, Joe Island down into Bradenton and Sarasota. There is excellent fishing around Weedon Island, Fourth Street, Cypress Flats, Rocky Point, Double Branch, and Culbreath Isle Flats.

Snook: Closed December 1st through the last day of February. As long as the water temperatures don’t fall too rapidly you should be able to target a few Snook, in and around residential canals, rivers, and deep-water creeks.

Redfish: Redfish are continuing feed and should continue right through the colder months. You’ll find on shallow-water flats on calm days with their tails up. The looking for Redfish watch for wading birds around the flats and mangroves because they feed on the same things as Redfish. Its also mullet time and large numbers are schooling on the grass flats. Redfish tend to hang with these large schools eating whatever they stir up. Hotspots include spotty grass flats near Weedon Island, Double Branch, Rocky Creek, Simmons Park, Bishops Harbor, Tarpon Key, Indian Key, and Joe Island.

Cobia, Sharks, Jacks: Cobia and smaller Blacktip, Spinner, Bonnethead, and Hammerhead sharks should show up around the power plant hot water runoffs as the water temperatures drop. Using large shrimp, small crabs and pinfish always entices a quick hookup.

There are plenty of large Jack Crevalle (Yellowtail) feeding on the remaining bait schools and glass minnows. If you’ve never tangled with one of these incredible fighters you’re in for a real surprise. Hooking and landing a Yellowtail in the 15 to 20 pound class is something you’ll not soon forget. When it’s over you’d swear you arms are three inches longer. Use whitebait if you can find it or shinny diving artificial’s lures with quick erratic actions.

Other Things to Catch: Look for Sheepshead and Mangroves off the beaches on patches of hard bottom also bridges, oyster bars, rock piles or fish attractors and deep water docks. Try green mussels, shrimp or oysters. Scrape the pilings to get them going.

If you’re interested in learning to fish the bay area…“GIVE ME A CALL & LET’S GO FISHING” Captain Woody’s been guiding and fishing Florida waters for over 50 year’s providing single boat charters for up to 4 anglers or multiple boats for large group events. And the results are always the same “Memorable Fishing Adventures with Tampa’s Top Guide”.

For more information or to book a trip, call his mobile at: 813-477-3814, call his office at: 813-982-2034, email him at WGORE@IX.NETCOM.COM or visit his website at WWW.CAPTAINWOODYGORE.COM.