Fishing good in Clearwater now that high winds have subsided and the weather is warming. Cold fronts are a possibility even into early April so you always need to adjust for success finding and catching fish. The water has become extremely clear forcing us to downsize tackle to 20lb and even 15lb leader. Smaller hooks like #1 or #2 can be hidden easier in live baits. On a recent trip, two rods I hadn’t switched over to lighter leaders were not getting bit at all, although we were surrounded by trout in 3 – 4 feet of water. As soon as 20lb leader was tied on, bites started coming. Tides have affected the bite also. Moving tides are a stimulant that get fish excited. If you are in an area with a stagnant tide, consider moving where the tide moves around a point, closer to a pass. Redfish have been eating through all phases of the tides but higher waters allows them to reach mangrove shorelines and oyster bars where they forage on bait. There are hundreds of snook in north Pinellas, staging along the spoil islands and mouths of the creeks, rivers and bays, ready to move to the beach for spawn season. The water temp dipped into the upper 50’s this week, shutting the snook bite down for a while. Longer days with sunshine should get the water warmed quickly, turning the snook on again. Offshore anglers are reporting mackerel and kingfish within 8 – 15 miles out. It shouldn’t be long before they get closer to shore making it easier to be reached by most recreational boaters.
Stable and warm weather on Clearwater Fishing Charters has had the fish extremely active in north Pinellas. Unlike most winter months, the bait has stuck around. Cast netting enough to fish with for the day has been easy. Trout have been absolutely on fire the past week. Slowing only a bit after the strong new moon phase passed by. They are still chasing and inhaling the sardines, also called “greenbacks”. The intercoastal waters between Clearwater and Palm Harbor are holding several fish up to 24 inches though most are 15 to 20 inches. Artificials have outfished live baits at times, especially when the fish are spread out. I like small paddle tail soft plastics with a 1/8 jig head. Redfish are showing up in schools. The high tides are lower than normal this time of year so the schooling redfish are forced to stay out of the trees and mangrove bushes and roam the flats with the mullet. Heavy chumming will attract the fish to your area. Lay out cut pieces of pinfish on a 2/0 circle hooks and wait for a strong pull away. Reds usually hook themselves as they take off with the bait. Snook are also cooperating lately. The water temps have crept into the low 70’s encouraging them to eat. Snook tend to prefer large baits such as threadfin herring, ladyfish or pinfish. The winds are forecast to be high this weekend, look for cover in bays or canals with deeper water that can hold fish. Docks will often have reds, sheepshead and snook underneath. Live shrimp pitched under a dock will get hit by any of those species.
Weather good for Redfish and Trout
Weather is good for redfish and trout over the next day and a half on Clearwater Fishing Charters. The water temps are beginning to creep up again in north Pinellas and fishing has been fantastic. The main targets have been spotted sea trout, redfish and sheepshead. Trout have been responding well to live shrimp under a cork with a few feet of leader or freelined close to the bottom. Clear waters requires downsizing tackle. 20 lb leader and a #1 or 1/0 hook is working the best. The spoil islands along the intercoastal are attracting several anglers as usual for this time of year. Be sure to move around quietly and give everyone ample space when maneuvering to your spot. Redfish have been holding under the docks and along seawall oyster beds. I use a split shot at the hook to keep my shrimp pinned in one location and wait for a consistent pull. Circle hooks allow the fish to set the hook perfectly in the corner of the mouth, eliminating the need for the angler to do the setting. Also low tide potholes along the flats have produced a few redfish. They are ranging from 17 to 24 inches in these areas.
Sheepshead and Silver Trout
Sheepshead are inhabiting the docks also , as well as any rock piles and jetties. The mitigation reefs south of Sand Key have held sheepies along with silver trout. Once you have found a couple silver trout to bite in these deeper waters you can make a day of catching them. They are also great table fare this time of year. When the weather good for redfish and trout I usually don’t target the silvers. The sea trout are mush bigger and are an easier fish to find this time of year.