Capt. George Hastick (727) 525-1005: Capt. George continues to do well working around mangroves at Picnic and Weedon islands for snook. The fish are close to the bushes when the water is high, but will move off them up to about 50 feet when the water drops. He’s been using live sardines. He’s noticed more reds in the 20- to 24-inch range have been around, with fish taking his anglers’ snook baits from time to time. Mackerel schools are more abundant than a week ago. He’s found fish around the Gandy Bridge and some off the Bay range markers, as well as off the Coast Guard station in the upper Bay. They’ll take small, live sardines, or gold or silver spoons.
Capt. Chuck Rogers (813) 918-8356: Capt. Chuck reports he’s finding schools of reds above the Howard Frankland Bridge, though they usually are moving quickly with schools of big jacks. The key is getting a bait out front and waiting for them to get to it. There are plenty of nice-sized mangrove snapper under the Gandy and Howard Frankland bridges. He’s spotted some tarpon rolling under the bridges while snapper fishing. The water in the Bay looks great, with plenty of baitfish and no signs of red tide.
Tackle shop roundup
Gandy Bait & Tackle (813) 839-5551: Robert says anglers are reporting some good redfish action in the north part of Tampa Bay. The 4th Street flat on the Pinellas side of the Howard Frankland Bridge has been a good place to look. Live and dead bait are working. Robert and a fishing buddy fished off the pier at Picnic Island and caught a number of mangrove snapper. They waded off the dog park there and using cut bait, caught a few snook that were close to keeper size. Mackerel schools are popping up in various places, with fish feeding on small baitfish. They spotted a school working around the reef just off the pier at the island, but they were out of casting range. Many anglers are reporting rolling tarpon. Fish 20 to 60 pounds are in Hillsborough Bay, and many have spotted them surfacing from Bayshore Boulevard. The big black drum are under the Gandy Bridge.
Tampa Bay Bait N Tackle (813) 644-5944: Joe reports anglers have been buying a lot of live shrimp and fiddler crabs for mangrove snapper. All the Tampa Bay bridges, including some of the small community bridges, have been giving up nice fish. Many have reported doing well on reds in the upper Bay above the Courtney Campbell Causeway.
Riviera Bait & Tackle (727) 954-6365: Jacob says anglers are doing better with reds than anything else in Tampa Bay. Fish have been schooling from the flats on the east side of the Gandy Bridge, north to above the Howard Frankland Bridge to the top of the Bay. Some of the fish being found are well oversized. More anglers are reporting rolling tarpon, and some are hooking up using small, live sardines for bait. Fish have been in the 60- to 70-pound class. The area just south of the Gandy Bridge has been holding quite a few, and some have been found in Riviera Bay on the back side of Weedon Island.
J's Bait & Tackle (813) 517-4192: Jonathan says rain has kept a lot of his regulars at home, but those getting out are catching mangrove snapper under Tampa Bay bridges. He likes the bridges for snook and reds, as well, and gave his report from the water this week while trying his luck for redfish and snook under the Gandy Bridge. He’s had good luck with both species there using cut mullet.