Tampa Bay Red Tide Update. As most of us have seen in press coverage over the last several months, Florida’s coast has been plagued by several different water quality issues. Unfortunately, this has subsequently lead to a significant amount of marine life lost. Certain areas of Southwest Florida have been hit hard by water runoff from the Caloosahatchee River (Cyanobacteria – “blue-green algae”) and “red tide” algae blooms along the coastal beaches. Together, these two issues have caused severe damage to our waters and fishery in those areas. It’s a very serious matter and with the presence of national attention, I can only hope that we are moving in the right direction for resolve for effected areas.
With that being said, I almost feel guilty to report that Tampa Bay is alive, healthy, and “red tide” free as of now. Historically, it is not uncommon for localized areas of the bay to suffer from “red tide” blooms this time of year. More often than not, it appears along the gulf coast as it needs the higher salinity water (salt water) to thrive. For the most part, areas inside the Sunshine Skyway Bridge are less likely to see any signs of “red tide”. However, we are in no way immune – we just have the odds in our favor.
As far as the fishing goes, things have been great! In fact, the only “red tide” that I have seen in the last few weeks is that of schools of Redfish starting to invade the bay. As we approach fall, fishing will only get better as the temperatures begin to drop. We have been finding healthy schools of fish throughout the bay showing up in their normal haunts this time of year. The lower tides have been a key to finding larger quantities of fish as they use the shallow flats to graze and feed. My bait of choice has been a live pinfish (3-4”) rigged with a 25lb fluorocarbon leader and a 3/O circle hook. I prefer to free line my baits but when fishing the shallower or grassy areas, adding a float will help. On the higher tides, look for fish to be “tucked” up under deeper mangrove shorelines. I will still choose the live pinfish first for bait, but will make the switch to cut/dead bait if we are not getting bites. Sometimes it’s just as simple as cutting your “live” pinfish in half and casting back in the same spot!
Capt. Travis Yaeckel
Instinct Fishing Co.
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