Capt. Mike says it’s a good time to fish at night. The water is very warm and fishing after dark can be a big improvement over days. Some fishing pals took a trip Friday evening and, working creek mouths from the Anclote River to the Cotee River, landed a number of reds and snook. The nearly full moon helped the bite, as the brighter the moon the easier it is for predator fish to spot bait. Capt. Mike did some personal fishing over the weekend, making a trip to 200 feet of water west of Clearwater. The big catch was a 40-inch gag grouper, but he and fishing mates landed a few mahi and tripletail that were hanging around a floating branch. They also boated some lane snapper, as well as mangrove snapper up to 7 pounds. They saw no dead fish or signs of red tide. Once beyond 10 miles offshore, the water was crystal clear.
Capt. Josh reports the redfish have been keeping him busy. The fish are schooling around rocks and oyster beds from Hudson north to Pine Island. Live pinfish have been working best, with live sardines the next best. Mid-slot-sized fish up to oversized have been common. His anglers are taking a few snook along with the reds.
Capt. Josh Fritz (352) 345-9304: Capt. Josh reports the redfish have been keeping him busy. The fish are schooling around rocks and oyster beds from Hudson north to Pine Island. Live pinfish have been working best, with live sardines the next best. He likes to snip the tails off the pinfish and hook them just above the tail. Mid-slot-sized fish up to oversized have been common. His anglers are taking a few snook along with the reds. The inshore waters are clean and there have been a lot of live sardine schools off Aripeka early in the mornings.
Pasco and Pinellas tackle shop roundup
Armed Anglers (727) 945-1808: Capt. Griff reports the heat is discouraging many anglers. Inshore fishing is hard work due to the high water temperatures. Noah from the shop has continued to do well on sharks up to 7 feet fishing cut mullet at the North Anclote Park pier after dark. Days at the plant have been nothing much but jacks and ladyfish. Anglers fishing grass flats north of the Anclote River are picking up a few trout, and canals and creeks are giving up some keeper-sized mangrove snapper. Offshore anglers have been going to 80 feet of water for gag grouper.
Cooper's Shrimp Shack (727) 868-8736: Bill says Hudson anglers are reporting decent redfish action. There have been some schools working in Filaman Bayou, where one angler reported landing 20 or more reds. Bill is seeing a few snook in the canal behind the bait shop from time to time, but he hasn’t been getting reports of snook catches anywhere. Mangrove snapper are in the canals and taking shrimp, and some big sheepshead are mixed in with them.
J&J Bait and Tackle II (727) 940-7928: James reports the fishing is slow and many anglers are on the sidelines waiting for cooler weather. There are some reds around flooded mangroves and oyster bars north of the Anclote and anglers working the grass north of the Anclote River are taking some trout. There are still spawning snook on the beach at Anclote Key. Offshore anglers are going deep for gag grouper and hogfish. Most are fishing 60 feet of water and beyond for better action.
The Rusty Bucket (727) 645-6598: Bill says anglers are working for their fish in the summer heat. Doing some fishing himself over the weekend, the redfish were taking top-water plugs early in the morning, but don’t count on it after the sun gets higher. Fishing some deeper holes around docks was productive and that’s a good place to find keeper-sized mangrove snapper and sheepshead right now. A trip offshore to 65 feet of water produced a number of hogfish and lane snapper, lots of shore red grouper. Bill spotted some blackfin tuna leaping but the water was too rough for trolling. There were no signs of red tide anywhere they went.
Tarpon Trading Company (727) 937-1488: Larry reports there haven’t been and lot of anglers coming through the shop, as the weather and water are hot and inshore fishing is tough under those conditions. Anglers working the bridges on the Fred Howard Park causeway are taking some reds and snook. Sharks are abundant, and many are fishing for them at night with cut mullet and doing well. Offshore anglers are going very deep for keeper-sized gag grouper. There are plenty of grunts in shallower water around hard bottom patches.
Hernando tackle shop roundup
Daddy D's Bayport Bait (352) 556-2163: Dustin says the redfish bite doesn’t get much better. Anglers are reporting them everywhere around rocks, oyster beds and mangroves, with many schools of slot and oversized fish. Live shrimp, mud minnows and blue crabs for the really big fish have been good baits. Several anglers have reported running into cobia on the flats trailing pods of stingrays. The cobia follow rays and feed on shrimp and crabs flushed out of the grassy bottom by turbulence from the rays’ wings. Trout fishing has been decent on the deeper grass flats. Live shrimp and jigs work well. Offshore anglers are going beyond 20 miles for gag grouper, grunts and hogfish.
Dixie Lee Bait (352) 596-5151: Marks says the story over the past week has been all about redfish. They are schooling and running form slot-sized up to oversized bulls. Gold spoons have been effective, with live pinfish also working well. Some are reporting doing well with cut mullet. The snook bite is sluggish at best. The water is too hot, Mark says, but anglers should look for things to pick up when we get into September and the days get shorter and the water cools a bit. Offshore anglers have been going very deep to avoid patches of dead fish and possible red tide offshore. Reports are that dead fish inside of 30 miles have been encountered, with floating gag grouper, mangrove snapper and even sea turtles seen.
Mary’s Fish Camp (352) 597-3474: Bell says the mullet fishing behind the camp store has been tops. Many anglers over the weekend filled their buckets and coolers by chumming and hook-and-line fishing for them. Those using live and frozen shrimp on the bottom caught some large sheepshead. A few stingrays were caught.