Tackle shop roundup
Armed Anglers, 727-945-1808: Capt. Griff reports anglers had a hard time with the weather over the past week. Wind or rain kept offshore anglers in, though a few squeezed in kingfish trips. The fish are there beyond 20 feet of water, over hard bottom, though the schools may be starting to thin out some. A couple of boats reported taking blackfin tuna to 15 pounds about 10 miles offshore. Inshore action on snook has been picking up as fish get more active and prepare for the summer spawn. Look for them on outside points, along mangrove lines and around creek mouths. There already are a few fish staging for the spawn at Anclote Key. Reds are on the oyster bars and over rocks north and south of the Anclote River. Sharks are showing up in greater numbers on the flats, and the deeper grass beds are holding Spanish mackerel.
One Stop Bait and Tackle, 727-842-5610: Joe says anglers fishing the grass beds in 2 to 5 feet of water have been finding plenty of trout. They are weeding through a lot of short fish, but the bigger ones are there for those who stick with it and keep moving to get away from the undersized fish. Snook have been active around area creek mouths and in the flooded mangroves. The reds are in some of the same places. Residential canals from Hudson to Tarpon Springs have been holding some juvenile tarpon. Gulf Harbors and Sea Forest have been two places anglers have been seeing the most. The grass flats in 6 feet or more have been holding schools of Spanish mackerel, but there also are fish offshore on the first hard bottom starting in about 15 feet of water. Kingfish are a just a bit farther offshore over rock bottom chasing schools of bait. Any kind of offshore structure is holding cobia now.
J&J Bait and Tackle II, 727-940-7928: James says anglers were hampered by the poor weather over the past week, but a few got out to find trout over the grass beds of the Intracoastal waterway and around the spoils of St. Joseph Sound, off Dunedin. Many of the fish have been on the small side, but those working it are connecting with some bigger fish. The deep grass flats north and south of the Anclote River have been holding schools of Spanish mackerel. The action at the Anclote Power plant has been slow, with the exception of a few mangrove snapper. Kings were hitting well before the weather got nasty just before the weekend and most expect the action will continue this week. There also have been a lot of Spanish mackerel offshore over hard bottom. Look for school of bait, often spotted by feeding birds.
Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, 727-934-3614: Larry reports things have been slow at the shop, as the weather was not great after the storm that came in Friday. He stopped by the Anclote power plant outfall and anglers there say the bite has been poor. A few have been taking mangrove snapper on shrimp, but otherwise there’s not much to report. The grass flats just off the plant have been producing mackerel, and fish Thursday before the storm, Larry and anglers caught a lot of them from there out the north end of Anclote Key. They also connected with a lot of hungry ladyfish.
The Tackle Box, 727-819-3783: Buck says the best news has been reports of more cobia on the inshore flats. They action is just starting to get underway so the fish have been on the small side, but look for the picture to get better over the next couple of weeks. Snook are on the prowl and feeding around creek mouths, as they fatten up for the summer spawn. Reds are on the points over rocks and oyster bars, but also cruising mangrove lines when the tide is up. The grass flats are holding plenty of trout right now and there are some nice keeper-sized fish for those who keep at it. Offshore, rocks and structure is holding kingfish, though the weather that blew in late last week killed the weekend fishing. The mangrove snapper are on some of the same bottom, and some nice fish were being landed before the weather turned for the worse. Water temperatures dropped a bit with cool nights over the weekend, but as things rebound it’s a good time to fish. “It’s spring; it’s time to fish,” said Capt. Buck.