fishing

South Shore Tampa Bay Fishing Forecast – May 2020

By: Captain Danny Guarino

Fishing Prospects look good for May

May already and our short spring season is all but over. It seems that once we hit March, Mother Nature decided to skip spring and head straight into summer. Over the last 2 months our air temperature has been consistently above 80 degrees with some days approaching 90. Water temperatures began to skyrocket in late March and has been running a few degrees above normal for the past month. I don’t care how you cut it, it’s summer minus the summer rain! In response to this I have changed to my early summer fishing techniques of starting a little earlier so that we can take advantage of the early morning cool temperatures.

Trout will be up on the grass flats and the best time to target would be early morning when the water tends to be a little cooler. Try working the grass beds in 2 feet of water early and then moving on to deeper grass as the sun gets higher in the sky. The bigger trout are loners and tend to show up early in the shallower water, I would guess that they are moving inshore to some of the deeper potholes later in the day. Scaled pilchards and shrimp will be the bait of choice.

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The Southsore flats have been holding some nice Redfish but still, they have not schooled up. I have been working the mangrove shoreline and tossing live pilchards into the deeper sand holes that dot the grass flats from Simmons Park south to the Joe Island area. We catch one or two and move on to the next spot. As the water temperature rises in to the mid-80s start looking along the mangrove tree lines that have a little deeper water. This would be an excellent time to work artificial baits and one of my favorites to use is a gold spoon that can be tossed or skipped under the mangroves. I move along the tree lined shore quietly using my trolling motor ever so slowly skipping my lure as far under the mangroves as I can get.


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The Snook bite has been excellent this entire season and I expect we will continue to receive good catch reports throughout the coming spawning season. Snook season is closed in all of Florida, if you catch a snook it will have to be returned back into the water, please be extra careful with your handling procedures. Live pilchards will be the bait of choice.

Spanish mackerel fishing has been particularly good this year. I have had particularly good success fishing shoal areas that tend to hold bait. Live pilchards will be the bait of choice.

Tarpon seasons is just about here, in fact we have already received reports of Tarpon being caught along the flats from Apollo Beach south to the Skyway Bridge.

Big Live Thread Fin haring is the bait of choice using 50 # test Line and 80# leader with a 6/0 to 8/0 circle hook. I like to use a 4500 to 5500 size reel with a good stiff rod. Hold on there are some big tarpon out there.

This time of year, I like to mix it up by targeting Snook Redfish and Trout on the grass flats and Spanish mackerel in the open Tampa Bay waters. Pilchards will be my bait of choice.

Capt. Danny Guarino is A lifelong resident of Tampa and semi-retired fishing guide. He can be reached at (813) 956-2010 or shpoint@aol.com.

www.fishingguidetampabay.com.

Photo Credits

Dennis and Carl Barletta both from Tampa with a nice Southshore snook caught on a past trip with Capt. Danny Guarino.

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