Capt. George Hastick's 3-26-11 Tampa Bay Fishing Report
Mackerel can be found from up inside Tampa Bay near Gandy Bridge to all the way out to the beaches.Look for them to be working the bait pods. You may also see them free jumping out of the water while chasing baits. Lures like spoons and jigs along with live baits like scaled sardines and shrimp will all catch mackerel. Chum with chum bags or by cutting up small pieces of shrimp or scaled sardines and throwing them out behind the boat. If the current is strong just drop the pieces of chum over board to keep it closer to the boat and in your casting range.
Large drum can be found schooling on some of the deeper flats and around the bridge pilings. Use stout 1/4 oz jig heads with 3 inch gulp shrimp in new penny and molten. You can also use quartered blue crab on a 5/0-6/0 circle hook. These fish have been ranging from 20-50 pounds.
Tarpon have made a decent appearance and will only get better in the weeks that follow. Many can be found around the Skyway bridge area but some have moved up into Tampa Bay around bridges and reefs. Threadfins, pinfish and scaled sardines are all good live baits to offer the Tarpon. In areas where you see tarpon dead baits on the bottom will also produce fish. Some of the cut baits that work are mullet, menhaden, threadfin and scaled sardines.
Redfish, snook and trout are all roaming the grass flats right now. Look for them to be in sand holes near the mangroves and oyster bars. The trout will be more out in the open where the snook and reds will be more structure orientated like islands and mangrove shorelines. The snook will hit scaled sardines and shrimp prefering scaled sardines and the redfish and trout will hit both the shrimp and the scaled sardines. Good areas to fish are Fort Desoto, Tierra Verde, Weedon Island and Picnic Island.
Capt. George Hastick
" The Fish Hunter "
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