Tampa Fishing Report April 2008

2008-04-29 16:05:05
Tampa, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Tampa, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Clearwater, Sarasota
Woody Gore

Spring is here…so dig out those rods and reels and get the boat checked out it’s time for another great summer of fishing on Tampa Bay. Do it now… then when you’re ready to go fishing you will be ahead of the game.

The sunshine state is an excellent place to live especially in the winter! Speaking with others visiting from up north, I get a chill when told about the temperatures in their home towns. It seems like our winters are getting milder and once again, we’ve had a placid winter season with only a few days in the low thirties. Throughout the wintertime fishing been good and will continue to pick up as our water temperatures return to normal, the bait shows up on the flats and the winds begin subsiding.

Fishing the bay for over fifty years I continually marvel at the excellent opportunities the area offers anglers from all walks of life. You’ll find many people fishing from the shore bridges, or piers while others might wade, or fish from boats, kayaks, or canoes. And you’ll find them just about anywhere there is accessible water. Fishing… what a great pastime, not only does it give us the opportunity to catch a few fish, it also allows us to enjoy the wonders of our environment while marveling at the creations natures afforded us. Sometime catching fish is not important… being on the water observing the balance of nature is all that’s required to release the burdens of everyday life. So, when things begin building to a stress level one notch below inner combustion. Step back, grab your fishing gear, and spend some time relaxing with nature.

Greenbacks are at the Skyway, some markers and beginning to show up on the flats. Keep your eyes open as many species begin showing up in April. Everything should be here by April, Snook, Redfish, Trout, Sheepshead, Mangrove Snapper, Mackerel.

Where to Start:

It’s not hard to find a good bite since there are over 200 species of fish all over Tampa Bay starting at the extreme north end down to past the Skyway Bridge. Just fish a respectable incoming or outgoing tide and catch fish. Many places are accessible from land for shore anglers or waders others have boat access from public launches. Here are some good starting points:

North - Howard Franklin Bridge to Safety Harbor:

Safety Harbor tidal flats

Double Branch/Rocky Creek grass flats

Mangroves & Oyster shoreline from Big Island to St Petersburg/Clearwater airport

Both sides of the Courtney Campbell Causeway (good wading-watch for deeper holes)

Cypress grass flats on the eastern shore north of Howard Franklin Bridge to the Courtney Campbell Causeway (good wading-watch for deeper holes).

Rocky Point grass flats off the point ((good wading-watch for deeper holes, rocks and oysters bars)

Central - South of Howard Franklin to St. Petersburg Pier:

The old Gandy Bridge has a fishing walk-way on both the Tampa and St. Petersburg side and offers some good fishing on moving water.

The St. Petersburg fishing pier also offers a variety of fishing.

The west shoreline grass flats just north of Gandy Bridge (good wading-watch for deeper holes)

Howard Franklin Artificial Reef, East shoreline grass flats (3-6 foot depth) north of Gandy Bridge to Howard Franklin

Picnic Island grass flats (good wading-watch for deeper holes) (watch for restricted zone signs at Mac Dill Air Force Base)

Weedon Island outside grass flats (2-3 foot depth between no motor signs and no wake signs) and outside no wake signs

Apollo Beach grass flats between Alafia River and Simmons Park

South – South of St. Petersburg Fishing Pier past the Skyway Bridge:

The old Skyway Bridge is now proclaimed as the world longest fishing pier with access from both the north and south end. You can drive you vehicle to where you want to fish, take advantage of the bait house for tackle or bait, and enjoy a day catching fish.

Western shoreline grass flats south of St. Petersburg Pier to Pinellas Point.

Eastern shoreline grass flats from Simmons Park to Joe Bay. Excellent grass flats from the (no wake signs) to the eastern shore including Little Manatee River, Little Cockroach Bay, Cockroach Bay, Piney Point

Port Manatee (new 500 yard restricted area around Manbirtee Key (Spoil Island), Bishops Harbor, and the outside grass flats of Joe Bay.

Grass flats along the eastside of the Skyway Bridge Causeway

The grass flats along the west side of the Skyway Causeway to the gulf around Tarpon Key, Indian Key, Boca Ciega, Boca Ciega Bay, and Ft Desoto (some wading-watch for holes)

Snook (Season’s Open until May 1st)

The magic number for water temperatures seems to be high sixty’s and up and look for them around deep passes early then spreading out into shallower water as the day continues to warm. Live baits always work for Snook but so do artificial lures. Try a MirrOlure MirrODine, Top Dog Jr. and the 7M nad

Redfish (No closed season, one fish per person per day, within the 18” to 27” slot limit)

Like snook the Redfish should become easier to catch as the temperatures climb into the 70’s. They’ll cruise the outer flats on the deeper edges then traveling into the mangroves as the tide gets higher. As I say each month, large schools of mullet are good places to find redfish mixed in together. Try keeping the baits within casting distance, to draw the fish to you. Remember not too much if you over feed them they’ll stopping eating if they get full. Expect some good excitement when pitching soft plastics around the mangroves on high in coming tides or low water outside flats.

Spotted Sea Trout

April produces some good catches on incoming or outgoing tides, using topwater popping plugs on an early morning grass flat. Pop the lure several times let it rest until the rings are gone and do it again. If there are Trout in the area they’ll strike. When fishing topwater lures do not set the hook until you feel the fish.

As always live shrimp are the best bait for Trout. Suspend one under Paradise Popper cork with a medium split-shot about 8” about a 2/0 circle hook then find any good grass flat and catch all the trout you want this month. Remember, small pinfish under a popping cork like the Paradise Popper is an all time trout favorite.

If the winds blowing try using a Wind Tamer Drift Sock to slow down your drift. Everyone wants to catch big trout but remember these large fish lay the most eggs so fish responsibly, try putting the big ones back, besides the smaller ones eat better.

Mackerel, Sharks, Cobia, Kings and Tarpon With the onset of Threadfins come the Mackerel, Sharks, Cobia, Kings and Tarpon. Cobia will cruise markers holding bait. Mackerel will be all over the bay feeding on bait schools and large kings and sharks will be feeding on the mackerel. Tarpon will show up on the beaches and Skyway first.

“GIVE ME A CALL & LET”S GO FISHING” Capt. Woody Gore’s been fishing in Florida for over 50 years and offers guided fishing charters in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Clearwater, and Tarpon Springs. Please contact me for more information or to book a trip call or email from my website:

Cell: 813-477-3814 Office: 813-982-2034 Email: wgore@ix.netcom.com

Website: www.captainwoodygore.com

Fish Species: Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Trout, Mackerel, Cobia, Sharks
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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.

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Woody Gore