Tampa Bay = Game On!
If you like fishing in Florida, now is the time to go. As usual, March fishing marks the start of our Spring bite and as of late February, things are moving along like a well-oiled machine. The bait hasn’t hit the flats in my neck of the woods thick yet, but by our next check-in that will have changed. As we push through the 3rd month of 2021 you can expect to see some wind-blown days but there will be outstanding fishing paired with it. As the North winds subside and we shift from the South, the heat will be on us like a wildfire.
Inshore fishing is nearing it’s prime in most stretches of Tampa Bay. Due to the lack of rain, water clarity has been great – making it easier to see more fish when prospecting new areas. Snook fishing remains the catalyst of many fantastic days of fishing but a close second is the Redfish. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the numbers of Reds coming over the rails, especially mixed in with a good Snook bite. As we move into April, we should see the bite only get better. As long as the water temps can stabilize before the big Summer boil, we should be in great shape. Bait has been plentiful throughout the bay but mainly in the deeper areas. In the coming weeks, we will see it make a return to most healthy grass flats in our estuary. As this happens, the magical days inshore happen. When you hear the term “they chewed the bottom out of the boat “, that’s what I’m talking about. Our fishery will go into a frenzy both inshore and nearshore.
As of late, most of our Snook have been ranging from 18-24”. The bait of choice without a doubt is a live Pilchard but when the time is right, they won’t turn down a variety of artificial and live baits. One key that I like to focus on this time of year for sure is making sure we have moving water. I also don’t want it flooded (high) as these fish will get so far back in the trees that they are almost un-fishable. My preferred tide is somewhere around the middle of the incoming to high. Depending on the height of the low tide (so you don’t get stuck) the bottom half of the outgoing is always a great Snook bite this time of year. On the other hand, I like have the higher water for the Redfish. More water puts these fish into back bays, creeks, pockets, sand flats, shallow shorelines, where they tend to group up and eat well. The bigger the bait, the better for Redfish this time of year.
The will key into larger prey as they switch their foraging patterns from crustaceans to more finfish. A live Pilchard, Pinfish, Finger Mullet, Chub will do the trick. If Spotted Sea Trout is your flavor. I didn’t forget about you. Now is a good time to get on some good numbers of “schooly” Trout but also don’t be surprised to find the 20+ “Mustard Mouths” in the mix. Much like the Redfish, I really like to use a large bait for targeting the trophy Trout. Search the potholes on healthy grassflats in the 2’-4’ depth and you will find them. One thing to pay attention to is the glass minnow and small surface bait when hunting Trout. Large numbers of fish will require a substantial food source close by to fill up for the Spring.
Until next month, tight lines and following seas!
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Suzuki Repower and Mastry Engine Center.
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