Summer Brings Kids Camp & A Struggling Fishery – Well, it’s been a long, hot month and a lot of things have changed within Tampa Bay since our last report. Traditionally, the month of June for me is busy with Summer kids camp for 4 hours in the morning and then a good run of afternoon Tarpon and bay fishing trips with my normal clients. This year has been a challenge – some of the normal stuff, like weather. However, this year our bay has been plagued with Red Tide in several portions of the bay and it has made being a full-time fishing guide on the South Shore of Tampa Bay an obstacle.
The month of June started out looking fairly normal. I had been fishing out of St.Pete and running the north stretches of the bay to catch fish. At this time, my home waters along the South Shore were already patchy with poor water conditions in certain areas but with a little bit of knowledge, it was still fishable. I am convinced that the Piney Point issues were at the heart of those issues and essentially the bedrock for a good portion of the conditions within our bay currently. As of today, we have a severe Red Tide algae bloom that is producing fish kills daily and there is not a whole lot we can do about it at this point except pray mother nature steers a course for reprieve. In the last several weeks, I have fished a large portion of our estuary and seen most every species we have living in our bay fallen victim to deadly water conditions. My point is – it’s a bad one. We have had Red Tide blooms over the years, but not this significant and not this far up into the bay. By design, Red Tide does not thrive in low salinity (or freshwater) conditions. This is why it is generally concentrated along the coastlines, passes, and beaches. It seems there are no “safe” areas at this point and we are at the mercy of the winds and currents until something naturally starts to negatively impact the survival rate of the Red Tide patches we currently have shifting through our bay. I believe the nutrient rich water discharged from Piney Point has given the bloom the strength to grow and prosper into what we have today. Now, on the contrary – our bay is not completely dead. That’s just not the way it works. However, now is the time to make each one of our voices heard and demand some attention to this situation because we cannot continue on the path we are on with our water quality issues in Tampa Bay.
It’s disheartening to bring this information forward in this report, but as a person who spends more time on the water than on land – it needs to be out there. I have spent most of my life learning and enjoying the waters in Tampa Bay and I am deeply concerned for all the right reasons.
In an effort to shine a little light of optimism. This month’s pictures of kid’s camp represent what we are trying to protect. It hasn’t been easy but we have managed to work our way through the mess and still find some quality fish in zones that are full of life. Finding and keeping bait alive has been the most challenging but once we got a handle of that, we were able to find some great bites on Snook, Redfish, and Trout in the shallows and when the weather permitted, we got out in the bay for Grouper and Snapper. Pinfish have been my bait of choice because they work great for all types of fishing and are generally pretty hardy in the live well. We have been keeping any spent (dead) baits and using those for cut bait on the slower tides/bites. In light of the current situation, we have been catch and release on Redfish and Trout.
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Suzuki Repower and Mastry Engine Center.
Stay dialed-in to what’s biting in Tampa Bay! Capt. Travis Yaeckel, Capt. Jason Prieto, Capt. Ric Liles, & Danny Guarino bring you the full report each week. Listen every Sunday Morning 8-9am on 1040AM ESPN Sports Talk Radio. Watch LIVE on Facebook and YouTube every Wednesday 6-7pm. Or download the podomatic app on your phone or tablet and listen anytime. Search “ Tampa Fishing Outfitters Radio Show “ to follow us and find current and past shows.