Tampa Bay’s Fishing Report August 2007

2007-08-12 15:36:19
Tampa, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Woody Gore

Comfort is paramount to all species and water temperature is a major factor because of its governing effect on a fish's bodily functions.

Have you ever questioned why fish congregate in one particular area one day and completely disappear, the next? There are many different reasons why fish relocate but the most overlooked is water temperature. Whereas fish are cold-blooded, weather and water temperature is a controlling factor in where you find them. Every species has a temperature range they tolerate and within that range there is a preferred range or comfort zone where they’re most comfortable.

Every species has a preferred temperature range and are most active within that range. When water temperatures exceed or drop below a species’ particular range, they often become non-responsive and lethargic. Learning the tolerances of those species you enjoy catching goes a long way toward helping you choose the right location, time of day, baits and lures.

For example, water temperatures dropping in the low 60’s puts Spotted Sea Trout in high spirits but becomes very disconcerting to Snook, Redfish, and Tarpon. On the other hand, temperature in the 80’s are fine for Snook, on the contrary Redfish, Tarpon and particularly Sea Trout are getting uncomfortable. When water temperatures reach into the 90’s as is often the case in Tampa Bay start looking for deeper cooler waters.

How fish react to today’s temperature often depends on the temperature it was exposed to yesterday, and even some days before. Gradual temperature changes over several days or weeks have different effects as opposed to rapid temperature changes. Slower changes usually result in better long-term fishing, while rapid changes sometimes stimulate only a strong short-term feeding rush.

With clear skies and hot summer days the suns thermal energy quickly penetrates shallow water allowing dark and grassy bottoms to become warmer than the white sandy ones. The difference between dark and white bottoms may only be one or two degrees but it can make a difference when you’re looking for happy fish. Inexpensive pool thermometers are available for use in finding the different ranges at different levels.

Snook, Redfish & Spotted Sea Trout: (Snook season is closed from May, through August)

During the summer, when water temperatures get really hot it’s not likely you’ll find Snook, Redfish or Trout in skinny water, except perhaps early in the mornings or late at night. Instead you’ll see them moving into deep water or suspending at different level depending on the thermoclines. If you do find them shallow they’ll always drop into the shade line of mangroves.

You will find Snook, Redfish and Trout all over Tampa Bay from the southeast shore including the Alafia River, Picnic Island, Simmons Park, Bishop Harbor, Joe Island down into Bradenton and Sarasota. There is excellent fishing around Weedon Island, Fourth Street, Cypress Flats, Rocky Point, Double Branch, and Culbreath Isle Flats. They’re eating everything in the water but always seem partial to a fresh Greenback, small Threadfin, Pinfish or chunked Ladyfish and Mullet. For those catching their own greenbacks, they are all over the grass flats.

Check around the passes separating the Mangrove islands. Early mornings and artificial lures work well this time of year and the key to artificial is confidence. For Snook try some of the many jerk baits or plastic shrimp rigged weedless or with 1/8 oz lead head jig. Hard lures might include MirrOlure’s - (www.mirrolure.com)Top-Dog Series, or the all New MirrOMullet Surface Walker and MirrOlure Lipped Crankbait. The color selection is not nearly as important as the action but in general white, silver with black, green with white and red and white are good choices.

Free-lined greenbacks, small pinfish and shrimp in sandy potholes may also produce some larger Trout and the occasional flounder.

Mackerel fishing in Tampa Bay is strong and there are some giant drag screamers chasing schools of threadfins. These are some of the most exciting fish you’ll ever catch on light tackle with the larger ones average from 3 to 6 pounds. They hit hard, rip off 30 to 50 yards of line, and make you wonder what in the world is on the end of you line. Find some hard bottom and you’ll usually find huge schools of threadfins or simply look for the birds. Toss out a bag or two of chum and get ready for some rod bending light tackle action. Try using large greenbacks or threadfins with small wire leaders and long shank hooks. I use 50# Seaguar Fluorocarbon leader, long shank hooks. Mackerel are excellent table fare but it’s important to immediately bleed and eviscerate them. Then put them on and in ice. Fillet them and place on the grille with lemon juice and garlic and in about ten minutes their ready.

Mangrove Snapper are found on every rock pile or structure around Tampa Bay and fairly easy to catch. Lighter line and smaller hooks should produce a nice meal. They’re really partial to the new hatch greenies or Threadfins but always take shrimp. Use a chum bag or better yet a new product that I’ve used for the last year with great success called the Chum King - www.chum-king.com). You can load it with your favorite mixture to disperse slowly or fill it with live bait, drop it down to the desired level and using the scientifically designed release mechanism open it up creating an instant feeding frenzy. It works great on every chumming application like Mackerel, Grouper, and Sheepshead.

Cobia often found around markers that hold bait and cruising, the grass flats following large rays or manatees. When fishing markers, keep a chum bag over the side, if they’re in the area this should attract them. Toss them a pinfish, greenback or threadfin and hold on.


Tarpon fishing slows a bit in August as many are returning from offshore. However, Tarpon fishing around the Tampa Bay usually continues with resident fish haunting the light-lines around the bridge lights. They’re best fished at night or early in the mornings and fairly easy to sight cast but difficult to land (bridge pilings).

Captain Woody says. “GIVE ME A CALL & LET’S GO FISHING.” One of Florida’s fishing legends he’s been guiding and fishing Florida waters for over 50 year’s and the results are always the same “Memorable Fishing Adventures”. If you‘re interested in fishing for Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, Sharks or any of the two-hundred species found in and around Tampa Bay or you want information on booking single or multi-boat charters, organizing company or corporate events give him a call.

Capt. Woody Gore contact information mobile: 813-477-3814, Office: 813-982-2034 or Email at WGORE@IX.NETCOM.COM. Be sure to visit his website WWW.CAPTAINWOODYGORE.COM

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Woody Gore

About The Author: Captain Woody Gore

Company: Captain Woody Gore Charters

Area Reporting: Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg

Bio: Born and raised in Tampa, Capt. Woody developed a passion for fishing as a child and years later, he is still expanding his fishing knowledge base and skill levels. Now with over 50 years of worldwide fishing experience he does everything possible to create an unforgettable and world class fishing adventure.

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