Captain’s greetings to all of our friends and anglers looking to connect with the saltwater fishing culture in and around Tampa Bay. I am enthusiastic to report that the fishing in Tampa Bay right now is outstanding. As we all know, the kids are getting out of school very soon. While you may have heard the phrase “take a kid fishing,” this is definitely a two-way street. Kids get the experience of enjoying life apart from their electronics and connecting with nature. For the parents or older people fishing with kids, it is such a joy to see young ones reeling in those catches. This is truly an event that makes lifelong memories.
The highlight of local fishing right now is the abundance of species for eating. I would suggest targeting snapper and Spanish mackerel. The snapper fishery in Tampa is quite easy to master with just a little due diligence and practice. Snappers hang around the large range markers seen all around Tampa Bay. They also like to congregate on what we call hard bottoms, which can be located on any hard copy chart or with bottom-marking electronics. Last but not least, if you take a quick peek at a chart, you’ll see that there are shipping channels throughout Tampa Bay. These channels are marked with channel buoys or channel markers. Snapper can be found at most of these markers.
Technique is quite simple. Use a 10- to 15-pound line on light tackle with a No. 1 split shot and a No. 1 hook. Drop down a piece of cut bait, shrimp or a smaller live bait fish. Last but not least, it always helps to throw a frozen chum block over the side of your vessel.
Moving on to Spanish mackerel. While you are snapper fishing, you can cast out a line with a cork 2 feet above the hook on the same equipment and same tackle. Just use a long-shank No. 1 hook because these are very toothy, hard-hitting game fish. They will eat the same bait as snapper. You can always cast a small to medium gold spoon for very productive results. Send the gold spoon as far as you can on the cast, and then use a medium-fast retrieval with the handle on your fishing reel. Spanish mackerel travel in wide schools. They are always on the move, and they must swim several miles an hour just to breathe, so be prepared. When they hit, you’re going to hear your catch screaming!
Please remember to hydrate, bring sunscreen and a hat, and wear those polarized sunglasses. While a good pair used to run $200 to $300, they can now be bought at your local tackle retailer for under $50.
Assuring you are at the best of attention at all times. To book your next adventure, call our Fishing Charters Hotline, or to learn more, visit us online.
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