The Beginning of 2020 Springtime Fishing Dreams

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Posted by: captainwoody - Comments Off on The Beginning of 2020 Springtime Fishing Dreams

Fishing around Tampa Bay recently is decent, given the cold fronts show up at seemingly unpredictable intervals. One day its cold and overcast with a falling barometer, and the fish will eat. Then two days later, the front passes, skies turn blue, temperatures warm, and the barometric gauge begins rising, and the fish get lockjaw. Well, that’s fishing in Florida. When fishing for reds, snook, and trou,t the bait of choice for this time of year seems to be live shrimp hooked at the head or tail using a lightweight jig or circle hook. Or you might try looking for whitebait/greenbacks.

Occasionally, you might find some on the grass flats. However, they are normally around deeper water markers or the Skyway Bridge. Remember, fish get sluggish during the winter, especially snook, and don’t seem interested in chasing a fleet-footed greenback. So it might help to damage your bait by squeezing it before casting or try cutting off the tail fins.

 However, when the fish are biting, it’s been decent with catches, including redfish, a few snooks, trout, and the ever-popular wintertime favorites’ ladyfish and Jack Crevalle.

Tampa Bay March 2020 Fishing Report

Also, if it’s sheepshead you’re into, the larger ones are showing up around bridge fenders and pilings, docks, seawalls, marina pilings, rock piles, and oyster bars. When sheepshead fishing use lives or frozen regular-sized shrimp broken behind the head, and then threaded on the hook followed by the head hooked from the side under the horn.

Redfish: Artificial’s work for redfish as well as cut baits, small pinfish, and dead-sticking stinky baits usually attract a redfish’s attention. So try suspending some smelly bait like cut mullet or a chunk of crab, and letting it sit in likely areas; if a redfish is close, they’ll find it. Grass flats with broken bottom, submerged oyster bars and mangrove shorelines like those found around Picnic Island, Simmons Park, Bishop Harbor, Joe Island, Weedon Island, Fourth Street, Cypress Flats, Rocky Point, Double Branch, and Culbreath Isle Flats are good starting points.

Spotted Sea Trout: You’ll find plenty around deep water flats on strong tides. They eat shrimp, pinfish, and greenbacks. A popper cork proves deadly at enticing trout, especially when rigged with shrimp, either live or artificial. Also, try bouncing a soft plastic jig off the bottom, but remember the bite usually comes as the bait is falling, so don’t be surprised to have a fish on just after the lure or bait hits the water and starts falling.

Also, don’t be shocked if you catch a flatfish (Southern flounder) like this one caught by Capt. Mark Gore’s client on a recent Tampa Bay charter. Look for hard sandy or rocky bottoms and broken bottom grass flats with plenty of potholes.

Cobia likes to piggyback of big stingrays and Manatees. As the waters cool, you should see them around the hot water discharges of power plants. But don’t think you’re going to be alone, there will be plenty of other anglers to keep you company. Get some extra-large shrimp rig them on a ¼ to ½ oz jig head, and that should do the trick. But small or chunk crab also works. You’ll also catch plenty of smaller sharks, Spanish mackerel, and some pompano. Also, watch out for the manatees; there are hundreds in hot water runoffs.