Both inshore and nearshore fishing have been excellent over the last month. Off the beach, there were kingfish available around and inside of the near shore reefs. Spanish mackerel were abundant as well and taking the time to rig up some light outfits was worth the trouble as mangrove snapper were also on the reefs.The beauty of fishing these reefs is simply the unexpected surprises that occasionally show up.  On one recent Tampa Fishing Charter, amidst a solid Spanish mackerel bite, several larger barracuda showed up, slashing the mackerel in half while skillfully avoiding the hook.  Later that same day, a shark in the neighborhood of 10 feet came right to the transom, attempting to eat an undersized grouper. On other trips, a stray cobia made an appearance and a true black grouper was also caught. Never a dull minute out there.

Clearwater Reef Fishing

Inshore, large trout are still available in St Joseph's sound but their time here is coming to a close.  Temperatures in the mid seventies and April's arrival generally signal the end of the best winter sea trout fishing around. Fish up to 24 inches were caught as recently as last week. The good news is that many of these trout will migrate to the outside beaches and be abundant for the next 4 - 6 weeks. 


Redfishing has been outstanding on any day with stronger tides. Typical charters have produced between 6 and 12 quality fish with fish at or over thirty inches on the majority of these trips.These tackles busters will put even the best fishermen to the test on medium action inshore rods spooled with 10 lbs test. Cut baits, live pinfish and pilchards have all worked and when the bigger fish are found, medium sized grass grunts and pinfish will help target the biggest fish in the group. Most Tampa Fishing Guides have been targeting mangrove shorelines although some of these bigger fish have been found on open flats in the sound.SUMMER SNOOK FISHING IN CLEARWATER

With current water temperatures holding around the mid seventies, the snook bite has improved. Although snook will eat at lower temperatures, most Tampa Fishing Guides agree that once the 75 degree mark is reached, their desire to eat improves drastically. Fish are beginning to move towards the beaches but many are still being caught along mangrove shorelines while redfishing.  These fish are eating live baits but are also occasionally picking up cut baits intended for redfish.  With their speed, jumping ability and structure seeking nature, bigger snook are a handful back in the mangroves but always provide excitement and require skill to land. Expect the bulk of these fish to head to the beaches in the next few weeks.  Once that happens, the great summer snook fishery will be on.

With Baseball season back in full swing, it's time to get back out to support the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays. With an enclosed stadium, the temperature's always right. Another option for a local sporting event is a visit to Tampa Bay Downs. Live Racing continues into early May and is a relaxing way to spend a day outdoors.  Good luck and good fishing.




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