May’s usually warm weather has not slowed the fishing action down at all; the Snook, Trout, and Redfish bite has been good throughout the entire spring. Tides and weather always play an important role in saltwater fishing. If you can fish when there is good tidal flow and good weather, your chances for success are enhanced but, the best time to fish is when you can. Please take a little advice from someone living in this area their whole life, appreciate and look forward to the cooling effects of our afternoon thunderstorms but always have respect for the lighting danger that accompany each. Keep a watchful eye to the sky and take no chances when you hear thunder.
As the water temperatures of Tampa Bay rise, trout will move into the deeper grass beds, where the water will be a little cooler. I expect the trout bite will be a bit on the slow side now that the water temperature has reached the mid 80’s. When I target trout this time of year, I like to fish early when the water temperatures are at their coolest. Try using live bait under a bobber. The bobber will tend to slow the bait down as well as keep it in the water column just above the grass. Please check the regulations for each area you fish. Regulations have changed effective June 1.
This has been a good year for Redfish on the Southshore, but as we progressed through May, the bite seemed to only get better. The Redfish schools had been on the shallow grass flats on the top of the outgoing tides. As the water temperatures rise into the mid-’80s, I would expect the redfish to move off the grass flats seeking cooler water in the shade of the mangrove trees that line the shoreline. Try using cut bait tossed under the mangroves. Cut ladyfish and thread fin hearing work best
Mackerel have been a go to bite throughout the spring months, and I expect that to continue into at least July. When fishing mackerel, use scaled sardines for both bait on a hook and as chum.
Tarpon started showing up in April in small numbers, but as we moved through May, the large migratory schools arrived and should hang around well into June. Try fishing Tarpon by free lining a big thread fin herring or a nice big pinfish near the Skyway Bridge; make sure you use a rod and reel that can handle the punishment a Tarpon can deliver.
Mangrove snapper have started to show up in big numbers on the deeper structures and the artificial reefs of Tampa Bay. June is one of the best times of year to target this overlooked species. All it takes to catch these tasty fish is to find some structure in deeper water and send down a small shrimp on a number 2 hook. Hold on, there are some big snappers in the bay this year!
This time of year, I like to mix it up by targeting Snook Redfish and Trout on the flats and snapper in deeper water. Whitebait will be my bait of choice. Whitebait is on the grass flats just about anywhere you go on the Southshore.
Remember its summer please use your sunscreen, drink plenty of water and keep an eye out for the thunderstorms.
Capt. Danny Guarino is a lifelong resident of the Tampa area and retired fishing guide on Tampa Bay. 813-956-2010
Be safe out there
Capt. Danny Guarino
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