Saturday’s trip was an all day adventure looking for redfish, trout, and mackerel and if time allowed maybe a tarpon or two. Gathering bait was a huge pain to say the least. Anyone who has ever tried maneuvering a boat under the Skyway Bridge in choppy and breezy conditions can attest to the challenge it can be. Bait often hug pilings on the up current side so tossing a cast net requires caution as to not have your net drift into the danger zone. I have damaged 3 nets the last 10 trips which are truly a pain and expensive lesson.
Tossing live and cut white baits into schools of mullet on a nearby oyster bar was the ticket for redfish. The last hour of the incoming / high tide worked great. Once the water went slack the bite stopped and it was time to change gears. Most of the redfish we are taking are over the slot fishing averaging 30”.
Nice plump trout to 22” have been eager to take fly lined white baits and 4” DOA Cal silver jerk shad on 1/8 oz Mission jig head. Captain Steven has been targeting a grass flat that drops from 2 to 10’ rapidly. Not where the larger trout typically hang out but its working. The depth the trout are at also varies from day to day so work the area thoroughly.
And yes the mackerel bite was on! These are good size mackerel and pull lots of drag. I have many anglers who state they liked catching the bigger mackerel than redfish. Mixed in again were bluefish and the occasional black tip sharks. The Skyway Bridge and local range markers have been giving up nice numbers of Cobia.
Tarpon action should be outstanding this week in the afternoon. Crabs will be pulled of the mangrove islands with the morning’s high tides and get sucked through the Skyway Bridge area. Tarpon will slurp up these tasty morsels with abandon. A good tip from Jackie Otto at Betts Tackle in largo. Fight your tarpon quickly 30 minutes should be plenty, if you fight a tarpon to total exhaustion the fish may not survive or becomes easy shark prey.