Unfortunately not much to report from Charlotte Harbor due to the water quality issues. My colleagues that are still fishing the area are catching quality fish when they’re able to find cleaner water. I’m fortunate enough to have the ability to fish Tampa Bay as well and there is no red tide, algae bloom or fish kill currently present in Tampa Bay.
In Tampa Bay bait has been plentiful and consistent catches of Snook, Trout, Spanish Mackerel and Mangrove Snapper have been coming over the rails. During the summer I try to limit my Snook fishing due to the fish spawning but when I do fish for them I like to target points and beaches near passes with good current and higher salinity. In the coming weeks, Snook should start making their way back towards the inside in preparation for Fall/Winter. They’ll generally hang out on the flats around potholes, oyster bars, and mangrove points until the water temp starts to really drop and then they Winter up in the backcountry creeks and rivers. My favorite Summer species’ to target are Mangrove Snapper and Spanish Mackerel. Both are readily available in warmer months and both are schooling fish so when you find them you can usually do well on numbers. For the Snappers, I like to anchor on pieces of structure and chum with both live and cut up pieces of whitebait. I use the light tackle and smallest weight possible to get the bait down the Snapper. As they start to respond to the chum and rise in the water column I will remove the weight and free line my bait back to them. The Mackerel can be caught the same way and I also like to look for them busting bait balls on the surface. Another great Summertime tradition for me is Scalloping. I like to Scallop in the gin clear waters of Homosassa. This season has been producing good results in 4-6ft over patchy grass. However, we’re now at the halfway point in the season and a lot of the shallower areas have been picked over pretty good. For better results go a little deeper in the 6-8ft range and look for the shorter grass.
Please take the time to do your own research on the water quality issues that we are facing. There is a lot of misinformation floating around and getting “shared” and “liked” on social media without any actual fact-checking. I could write a whole book on the topic but I don’t have that amount of space here. Two of my personal favorite sources are WWW.CaptainsForCleanWater.Org and “ The Captain Planet Project” on Facebook. It’s also very important to research the candidates in the upcoming election and see their Environmental Platform. Doing what we’ve always done will get us the same result. Please get educated and get involved.
Capt. Bobby Woodard