Saltwater fishing: Redfish still biting in Tampa Bay

Around Tampa Bay:

1: At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, the red tide is present and it appears to be getting worse. However, anglers are still catching Spanish mackerel in the morning and through the day. Some mangrove snapper, Key West grunts, and sheepshead are biting down around the pilings and a few trout are being caught in the afternoon, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462- 6466).

2: At Madeira Beach, red tide is here, but plenty of fish are still being caught. The bloom is really bad from the beach to the first 5 miles out. There’s lots of dead fish. It starts to clear up good about 12-14 miles out. Near shore, once the water clears, hogfish, keeper red grouper, black sea bass, Key West grunts, and porgies are being caught. They’re biting good on the edge of the clear water. Spanish mackerel are also thick around the bait schools. Deeper offshore, both gag and red grouper, amberjack, and mangrove snapper are biting good, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).

3: At John’s Pass, “Red tide has come in and I’m seeing some dead fish in the pass, including snook. The water is dark brown. No one is really fishing. I wouldn’t waste my time personally,” reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).

4: At Fort DeSoto Park, the red tide is really bad and there is no bite at the drawbridge our out at the piers right now. There’s a big school of redfish out by Egmont Key. Look for the frigate birds and you’ll find them. Inside the park, redfish in the 20-22 inch ranges are being caught in an area of clear water on the flats by the campground. There’s also lots of small trout on the flats with clear water, reports Capt. Claude Hinson, of the Bait Bucket (727-864-2108).

5: Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, from the Manatee River to the north, fish the shoreline and the mouths of the bays. Redfish, snook, and trout are holding in the mouths and just out front. Keeper gag grouper and mangrove snapper are biting on edge of the shipping channel and rock piles and structure around the Skyway Bridge. Spanish mackerel are all over the channel and up in the bay. Tripletail can also be found on the markers and buoys in the bay, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters. (941-705-3160).

6: At Anna Maria, there’s fish all around the tip of the island and down the beach to Longboat Pass and inside. Once inside the pass, don’t fish too far north or south. Snook, redfish, and pompano are being caught. The fish are running from the red tide affected water. To the south, Sarasota Bay still has some red tide, but there’s patches of clean water and there’s a good bite for snook, trout, and redfish where the water is clear, reports Crawford.

7: At St. Petersburg, red tide is on the beaches of St. Petersburg, but fishing is good inside the bay. Redfish, snook, and trout are being caught around Weedon Island. There’s a good trout bite off Pinellas Point. Grouper, mangrove snapper, and flounder are being caught on the edges of the shipping channel. Lots of Spanish mackerel are also up in the bay, reports Larry Mastry of Mastry’s Tackle (727-896-8889).

8: In the north end of Tampa Bay, the redfish bite has been really good in the upper bay. Most of the fish are slot and just over slot. These fish are cruising the shorelines and up against the mangroves. The snook bite is picking up. Look for good moving water around deeper drop-offs. Live fry bait under a float is getting the bite right now. The trout bite is also really good right now around the bait schools and there’s some Spanish mackerel mixed in with them, reports Capt. Jake Whitfield Florida Outdoor Adventures (813-997-5980).


— At Homosassa, look for redfish on the outside points on the incoming tides. The near shore rocks are producing mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel, and big grunts. A free-lined, live shrimp is the best bait. Trout fishing has been good west of Marker #2 while using MirrOlure Lil Johns in watermelon red flake color. A few, good sized black sea bass are mixed in with the trout. Snook fishing remains good, but most of the fish are on the small side, reports Capt. William Toney of Homosassa Inshore Fishing Charters (352-621-9284).

— On the Space Coast, the early morning bite for trout up to 20 inches has been very good on the flats in the southern end of the Banana River. Small topwater lures fished close to schools of mullet are getting the bite. Black drum up to 20 inches are being caught on live shrimp and cut bait fished along channel drop-offs, around bridge fenders, and docks. Early morning to mid-morning is best for these drum, reports Capt. Keith Mixon of Mixin’ Work With Play Fishing Charters. (321-212-8484). 


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