Summer at Last!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think this past spring has shown us the weirdest weather we’ve had in years.
All spring it was super windy with random cold fronts blowing in at irregular intervals. Now that summer is here we should expect more regular weather patterns, much clearer waters and fish that are easier to find and ready to eat.
The tarpon migration is in full swing with nice pods of fish from 100 to 200 pounds cruising the sandbars along Caladesi, Honeymoon and Three Rooker Islands, and rolling the entire length of the Dunedin Causeway early every morning. Even shore anglers have a great shot at snagging one of these brutes, but remember that heavy spinning gear. Use a full spool of 30 to 50 pound braided line, six to eight feet of 60 to 80 pound fluorocarbon leader and a 7/0 to 9/0 super sharp hook.
Snook are in full feeding mode on the beaches and in the passes fattening up for their spawn. The snook bite along the Honeymoon Island beaches has been spectacular with fish of 30 to 48 inches getting caught every day. Talk to the crew at Barracuda Bob’s about the best baits to use on any given day.
Redfish are schooling around the mangrove shorelines and oyster bars and can usually be found anywhere you see lots of mullet jumping. Long casts are needed to not spook the fish; your best bait will be a big live shrimp free-lined or with a split shot. Make sure to cast beyond or to either side of where you see the fish working so you don’t shut down the bite.
The other big story around here is the shark bite. Starting this month and all through the summer, blacktips, bonnetheads, bulls, hammerheads and plenty of other species will be prowling along the Dunedin Causeway and off the beaches. Use stout spinning gear and heavy wire leader to prevent bite offs; soak big chunks of cut bonito, mullet or ladyfish on the bottom.
I also recommend deploying a chum bag up current from your baits to get the sharks sniffing around. Remember that our sharks range in size from two to ten feet long, and like a box of chocolates, you never know exactly what you’re going to get!
June 1st marks the beginning of gag grouper season, and every ledge rock, reef and wreck are covered with them. They’re so thick you can almost walk across them.
Red snappers are also everywhere; you’ll want plenty of big live pinfish for the gags and somewhat smaller ones for the snappers. The snapper regulations are really tricky, so make sure you understand them well.
Before heading out stop into Barracuda Bob’s for the best live, frozen and artificial baits, rods and reels and terminal tackle. More importantly, Bob’s crew is extremely knowledgeable about bait, rigs and regulations, and can tell you where the bite is hot on any given day.
You can always rely on the friendly crew at Barracuda Bob’s to help you become a better and more productive angler!
See y’all out there,
Big Gag grouper can also be taken trolling big plugs near the bottom. Try gold Bomber Long A’s under a planer or on the downriggers. This is a great way to scout and find your own grouper hot spots!
Red snapper will be swarming over rocks, reefs, ledges and wrecks in 60 feet of water or deeper. Send some chum down in a chum cage to fire up the bite.