I am a little conflicted about how to write this month’s report… I am disgusted and utterly heart broken about the recent state of our waters due to the Red Tide-Piney Point Pollution cover-up, as essentially irreversible damage has and still is impacting our ecosystem and livelihoods. I ran barely a handful of trips throughout late June and July due to Red Tide as the water was a disgusting brown, there were dead fish as far as the eye could see, and the stench was bad enough at times to have you covering your nose and mouth.
However, as if a light switch flipped and our prayers had been answered these last 2 weeks have been night and day different than the many preceding. The water has been crystal clear, with inshore visibility up to 10 feet both inshore and off the beach. On my recent trips (early August) we have seen just as many snook piled up in certain areas as there had been in April-May, with redfish and trout mixed in the same areas. There is bait up and down the beaches, flats, and bridges, though most of this recent hatch is very small. This time of year you want to put away the 3/8 mesh cast net and bring out your 1/4in or smaller, so that you don’t Christmas tree your net…trust me. I made that mistake about a week ago and it stunk to high heavens until after my trip when I could thoroughly rinse and clean it. I don’t typically use shrimp too often on my charters this time of year but I don’t know if the fish are just happy to find food, or what, but the snook have been firing off on free-lined live shrimp lately.This time of year the shrimp are typically small as well although most dozens are mixed and big or small the result is often the same… FISH ON.
If you’re cruising around Tampa Bay keep your eyes peeled for nervous water asI have seen and heard of a few reports of bull redfish moving throughout the deeper parts of the bay, although I have not personally looked for them yet. However, the Mangrove snapper have certainly faired what I would hope is the worst of the conditions this summer, as they are plentiful right now! A few trips ago we had 15-18in mangrove snapper popping our pilchards out of the mangroves before the snook could get them. Snapper are some of the best table fare so there were no complaints from anyone on board that day.
“Red-Tide/Pollution” is still currently present up and down the beaches but the bay has cleared up tremendously so find some clean water and live bait and go fishing!
Redfish, Snook, and Trout are once again CLOSED for the time being (October).
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Mastry Suzuki Repower
Hi – I’m Captain Skylar Wilks and I am a full-time Tampa Bay Inshore Guide, residing in Madeira Beach. I grew up spending my weekends and summers fishing with my Grandparents who live across the street from the Madeira Beach Marina. In 2011, I moved a bit further south to Fort Myers and attended Florida Gulf Coast University, with a scholarship to play Division 1 soccer. When I wasn’t playing soccer, I was spending my time learning the waters and fishing in Sanibel, Estero Bay, and the Naples area. In 2015, I graduated with a degree in Business Management and moved back to Madeira Beach to launch my fishing business, Inspired Fishing Charters.