The baits are finally showing up on the grass flats, and that means one thing–we’re finally going to catch fish. Now is the time to get that bait net out and get it repaired; because, unless you’re an artificial angler, you’ve got some work to do before you can catch a few fish.
Snook seem to be everywhere in Tampa Bay. When using live sardines, almost any tidal grass-flat, mangrove shoreline, pass or cut from upper Tampa Bay to Sarasota should prove productive.
Spotted sea trout fishing should continue improving as the Bay waters warm. Use live sardines or shrimp freelined or under a popping cork. Look for flats with lush grass and plenty of sandy potholes. The potholes should produce some decent fish.
The redfish should start settling in for the summer. Check your favorite oyster bars, cuts and broken bottom grass flats on the last of an outgoing tide and the first of an incoming tide. Don’t forget those large mullet schools. Redfish feed right along with schooling mullet and, usually, follow larger schools.
Many anglers consider cobia somewhat of a bycatch. You seldom hear of someone initially going cobia fishing. You may run across one cruising the sandy flats following giant rays and manatees or hanging around a marker. They are looking for easy meals and feeding, and they will eat just about anything tossed in their direction.
When the threadfin herring show up throughout Tampa Bay, you can bet your guns the giant mackerel will not be far behind, and should be in full swing this month. Reports of mackeral up to four pounds have been coming in. Chum them up with some cut-up threadfins or greenbacks tossed up-current. Now, hook up a greenback or small threadfin on a freelined leader and hook. Mackerel are also excellent table fare. Either fried, baked or smoked and used to make great smoked fish spread.
Also, remember, when the mackerel show up, so do the sharks. If you like catching a few black tips, bulls or shovelnose sharks, they should be around your boat, especially when the mackerel are feeding.
Tarpon are showing up around the Skyway and the beach. Expect plenty of activity by month’s end and on through the summer. Try freelining some threadfins or small crabs. If you have them, use large greenbacks.