Fishing Around Tampa Bay (Dec. 14)
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:58 p.m.
1─ At Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, fair catches of Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, silver trout, seatrout, flounder and whiting, reports Kelly Dacey. Water temperature at pier 69.8 at noon Thursday.
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2─ At Madeira Beach, Capt. Dane Karcher (727-647-6919) of John's Pass has been targeting hogfish over rock piles in 35 feet, catching 6-10 per trip up to 5 pounds on fresh-cut shrimp on knocker rigs with 2/0 circle hooks. Karcher said kingfish popped up this week in 55 feet with water close to 70 degrees. Hubbard's Marina half-day party boat landing kings up to 20 pounds on live pinfish. Capt. Jessie James catching amberjack up to 40 pounds 50 miles out along with nice mangrove snapper, and red snapper, which have to be released.
3─ At John's Pass, a few nice trout on sand bar outside the pass, said Capt. Dane Karcher. A few sheepshead and release snook off the boardwalk. Silver trout off beaches in 14-16 feet just outside sand bars on pink or white Luv Lures and Troutmasters tandem rigs.
4─ At Fort DeSoto Park, not many fishermen on the water but there's gator trout to be had on the flats, with release snook and flounder mixed in. Redfish have been hit or miss.
5─ Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, flats fishing pretty good for the middle of December, largely because trout are in season unlike a year ago and the water temperature is back up to 71-72 degrees in the afternoons. Capt. Shawn Crawford of Lakeland (941-747-3856) reports limits of trout in no time (four per day including one over 20 inches), with a few up to 26 inches on greenbacks. Crawford's anglers released 30-40 snook last Friday, including five over 30 inches up to 35 inches in backs of bays near canals. Redfish scattered, hard to target and not feeding aggressively. Crawford said mullet-netters could be pushing reds around, as reds typically hang with mullet. Flounder up to 20 inches showing up while trout fishing on flats, around docks and hard-shell bottom like at mouth of Miguel Bay, Crawford said.
6─ At Anna Maria, kingfish are filtering back north with the warming trend. Capt. Shawn Crawford said a fellow captain told him kings were thick in 40 feet, just 4-5 miles out, like they were a few weeks ago. Tripletail hanging around crab trap buoys off beaches. In Sarasota Bay, trout the mainstay. Trout, redfish and snook holding in areas close to residential canals.
7─ At St. Petersburg, trout, redfish and snook are moving to flats near mouths of canals to feed on warming trends, then heading back into canals when the water temperature drops. Sheepshead fair around bridge and pier pilings, residential canal docks, rocky areas and reefs on shrimp, fiddler crabs, clams and oysters.
8─ In the north end of Tampa Bay, sheepshead so-so around Courtney Campbell and Howard Frankland pilings and fenders, but will improve when the water temperature drops again.
─ At Fort Pierce, offshore fishermen got back into the swing of things over weekend with lesser winds. Decent dolphin bite trolling weed lines with small ballyhoo from 120-200 feet, with mahis 8-10 pounds up to low 20-pound class and a few sailfish mixed in, reports Adam White at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637). Fair amount of big Spanish mackerel 5-6 pounds off Vero Cove on Clark spoons (No. 2 or OO). Bottom fishing pretty good for mangrove snapper 2-5 pounds on live large shrimp on 3/8-ounce jig-heads over public wrecks in 55-60 feet. Snook really good in inlet and should be strong on new moon this weekend, although today is the last day you can keep them. Snook going for pigfish and pinfish, drifting baits off bottom. White said he and friends did really good last Wednesday and Thursday day and night for all slot or larger snook, mostly over-slot including a 40-incher that weighed 20-25 pounds for White on a large pinfish. Bluefish 3-6 pounds in the inlet eating snook baits, and Castmaster spoons. Pompano good when surf is clean on Doc's jigs and surf rigs with cut clams or sand fleas. In the river, trout in low 20-inch class really good in "power lines'' area and flats off Big Mud in 3-5 feet on D.O.A. Paddletails (No. 371 avocado red glitter, new No. 451 bloodworm) and MirrOdines. Keeper schoolie trout on spoil bars to north with live shrimp under popping corks, and White said you should be able to catch a limit in 15 casts if you're in the right spot. Sporadic redfish around docks on west side with live shrimp on jig-heads or Berkley Gulp! Shrimp. Sheepshead decent around bridges on frozen shrimp and sand fleas.
─ On the Space Coast, calm conditions over the past week have been good for nice-sized pompano and 20-inch black drum, reports Capt. Keith Mixon of Lakeland (www.mixinworkwithplay.com). Pompano along the beach south of Port Canaveral on live shrimp and cut clams mid-mornings with falling tides. Mixon rigging up with pyramid sinkers and 1/0 circle hooks for pompano in the surf to keep bait in place. Pompano averaging 12 inches. Black drum holding along channel drop-offs and around spoil islands adjacent to flats, with the State Road 520 Bridge in the Indian River a good spot. Fresh-cut mullet or ladyfish works well on circle hooks and fished on bottom for drum, best just after first light.
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