Entering June, the expectation by most Tampa Fishing Guides is that the best of the best inshore fishing is here.  Big redfish are abundant, large female snook have gathered in significant numbers for the yearly spawn near local passes and large seatroout are still available out on the beaches. Tarpon have also reached Southcentral Florida waters in good numbers as well. Simply put, it's a great time of year to be an inshore fisherman.

Interestingly, although snook were found on the beaches during May, the largest fish seemed to show up a little later this year....not really arriving in big numbers until towards the end of the month.  Even after their arrival, the big fish seemed a bit more difficult to catch than usual, although this point has now been passed and they are feeding well.  Larger baits will catch these big fish the best. Topping the list...jumbo whitebait, large grass grunts and "slippery dicks". This fishing should hold up into the month of July as these fish complete the breeding process.  As August approaches, expect fish to still be around but not in the concentrations they are in now.

On any day with tides big enough to push redfish back to the mangroves, fishing has been excellent with fish exceeding 30 inches never a surprise. On weaker tides, locating the mullet on the flats has also been productive.  On many Tampa Fishing Charters, captains will locate a mullet school, approach to the edge of these schools and then put out a line of baits. If fish are not located, the boat is moved 20 yards forward and the process repeated. This process of blanketing a flat will locate any redfish that are traveling with the mullet.  Although these efforts can seem tedious until the fish are found, the payoff can be big with double digit numbers of fish being caught once the school is located. This fishing will hold up through the summer.  The problem in August is more for the fishermen, who are probably less willing to deal with the heat than the redfish.

Trout fishing on the beach has stretched into June...seeming to hang on a little longer than in prior years.  With the return to normal fishing regulations as of June 1st, this is well timed as these fish can finally be harvested. Fishing swashes along the beach with free lined whitebait is generally the best approach for these final hold out trout, who will definitely be gone in the next week or two.

So all would be fantastic now if not for the dreaded red tide, which has reached into the region.  As of last Friday, Tampa Fishing Captains began finding it difficult to catch and keep bait alive as far north as Three Rooker Bar. Until concentrations weaken, which could happen at any time, fishing will be compromised. So what is Red Tide? Red Tide is caused by an organism know as Karena Brevis, a dinoflagellate.  A dinoflagellate is a single celled organism that is classified as both an algae and a protozoa. What this means is that it is a plant with some animal like characteristics...but most generally consider it an algae. Karena Brevis kills fish through both the brevotoxins that it emits as well as through suffocation which happens when mass quantities of this organism die, depleting the water of oxygen.  This may also be compounded by a hemolytic effects of the toxin...which kills red blood cells in animals it affects, resulting in anemia.

What factors increase the likelihood of red tide? Factors include warm ocean temperatures, low salinity, high nutrient content, calm seas and rain followed by sunny days. How long does it last? It can last from 2 weeks to over a year. So it is anyone guess on how long it will remain.  During the last red tide, it came to Clearwater but did not move into St Joseph's Sound and there was no fish kill inside of Honeymoon and Caladesi Islands. With a little luck, it has reached it's northern extreme and will begin to dissipate soon.

For other summer entertainment, pay a visit to the newly renovated St Pete Pier. St Pete has a lot to offer and makes for a great family day. Interested in a wildlife focused day.  A paddle down the Myakka River can be an educational and relaxing experience.  Good luck and good fishing.



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