Tampa Bay is Warming Up to Summer!
Hot, Hot, Hot – That word will be used in more conversations over the next several months than any other in my vocabulary. As we pull out of Spring and roll into our Summer patterns, the heat will play a major role in daily fishing. As water temperature increase, so will our fishing styles and locations. For me, this week marks the end of Spring flats and shallow fishing for a few months. Tarpon are starting to show up and June 1st marks the opening of Gag Grouper season.
Right now, shallow flats water temperatures are rubbing 90 deg and the inshore bite has begun to slow down during the warmer periods of the day. On the last few trips, we have incorporated cut bait in the mix and it has been producing quality fish with a little bit of patience. A large threadfin or pinfish will do the trick or if you run across some ladyfish, most won’t pass up a fresh chunk. Large Snook are making their way to the passes, bridges, and reefs in preparation for their spawn. As we approach the next moon, you can expect to see good numbers of adult females staging up in the deeper areas around Tampa Bay.
As for me, it’s the start of Tarpon Season and bay fishing for Snapper, Grouper, and Sharks. For the last few weeks, we have been playing the resident juveniles but it really just gets me excited to dive into the depths for the big girls. Over the years I have really enjoyed dedicating my time to fishing the bay in the Summer months. We have an estuary like no other and the real picture unfolds when you spend some time fishing all of it. The variety and quality of fish that thrive in our bay can be amazing at times.
As migratory Tarpon schools move up our coast over the next 2 months expect to see some big fish caught. Most of these fish will be taken near the coastal beaches but later in the season, there’s always a few giant post-spawn females lurking inside the bay. On average, most fish will be around the 100lb range but fish up to 200+ are not uncommon. If you are looking to get out and do some Tarpon fishing make sure you pay attention to the tides. The Silver King can be very picky and particular with their eating patterns. If you are looking for a sure bet, plan your trip around a “hill tide” – which are strong outgoing tides around the full and new moons in June & July. This is when the crab flush happens and the Tarpon will generally feed heavily. At times, it’s an amazing site to see as nature completely takes over and you get to really see why these dinosaurs stop to gorge along our coast. Over the next several weeks, thousands of fish will take part in the feeding ritual in preparation for their spawning activities and long journey north. Along the way, anglers from across the globe will get to experience the thrill of “bowing to the king” and only a select few will take home the boat-side victory photo. Out of all the fish we target, Tarpon have to be the most humbling.
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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