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.

The weather is starting to heat up, which can only mean one thing: SPRING BREAK! Igloo has all you cooler and drinkware essentials. Shop Now.


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. Inflatable Boats

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

Photo Credits

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

We hope you found this post informative and enjoyable. We are looking forward to the Covid19 crisis being over and being able to once again get back to our Florida journey. To follow our journey through Florida please subscribe to our website so we may send future posts straight to our email in box. To join the Florida discussion, ask Florida question and make new Florida loving friends, then join our facebook group at:

Some links on this post are affiliate links and does earn a small commission when you book/purchase through an affiliate link, however, it is our policy to only provide affiliate advertisers that we believe in. We would never promote anything that would jeopardize our integrity or the trust of our reader. The commissions we earn are small compared to the work we put into this website and it is not worth the risk to promote something just to earn a commission. Having said that, the commissions we do earn, does help to cover the expenses of the website so we ask that you do at least consider booking/purchasing through one of our affiliate links. Thank you.

Some of the links in this article are "affiliate links", a link with a special tracking code. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission.

The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

By using the affiliate links, you are helping support our Website, and we genuinely appreciate your support.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.