Inshore to Nearshore Success

Summer temperatures on the flats have been in the low 90s by midday, forcing anglers to seek cooler water around the nearshore artificial reefs in north Pinellas. Loading the baitwell in the early morning with small to medium whitebaits and heading a few miles offshore can guarantee rod-bending action. Rocky hard bottom and the structure of the reefs hold a variety of fish to catch. Mangrove snapper, small grouper, grunts and flounder are available. Using a heavy split shot, 30-pound leader and a small hook, drop bait to the bottom and reel one rotation to suspend the bait slightly. Light tackle rods can usually handle most of the nearshore species; however, a large grouper or cobia can sometimes get the upper hand. Mackerel are starting to show up, chasing the hordes of small hatchling baits around the reefs. Long shank hooks or a short length of light wire can prevent most breakoffs. Though the flats are warm, the grasses nearer the passes have held high numbers of trout, small mackerel and ladyfish. The beaches are still holding a few snook, though the numbers are dwindling as the snook begin to transition inshore after the spawn season. Incoming tides are cooler than outgoing, and morning bites are best before the sun gets too high. Always hydrate well, even on days with cloud cover and rain.
That’s what’s happening out here these days! Don’t let the summer pass you by without booking your special day on the water! Call me at 727-365-7560 or e-mail brian@captbrian.com. Let’s go fishing!

Capt. Brian

Adjusting to the Heat

The summer heat has influenced most fish to move to specific locations. That’s usual for this time of year. The hot backcountry waters force many fish toward the cooler moving waters of the passes and beaches. Temperatures can reach just above 90 degrees on the flats during the middle of the day, so many fish become lethargic, seeking the shade of mangroves or deeper edges along the flats.
Snook fishing has been especially good. Snook move out to the sandy beaches, which makes it easier for males to find females for spawning. They are still responding to freelined sardines. Grunts caught previously in pinfish traps work very well also. Be sure to use at least 30 lb. leader and a 2/0 hook when casting larger baits. I prefer the circle hook style to prevent deeply hooking the fish. Be prepared to catch trout, flounder and even small tarpon while fishing for snook. Look for rocks along the shore, including the jetties that can be found along the north Pinellas coast.
This past week I’ve been involved in taking kids fishing for summer camps. Running out to hard bottom near artificial reefs has given us plenty of action. We’ve caught grunts, squirrelfish, sea bass, small grouper and sharks, all on cut squid. It’s very rewarding to see the kids reel in a fish on every drop, especially when they are smiling, laughing and having fun the whole time.
Don’t hesitate to book your special summer day on the water! It may be hot but the breeze is blowing and we can always pull up to the beach for a quick dip in the clear coastal waters. Call now at 727-365-7560 or email here, through my site. I look forward to hearing from you all soon! Let’s go fishing!!!

Capt. Brian

Tarpon Time!!!

Tarpon fishing has turned on along the north Pinellas coast. Fish are moving up from south Florida and out from the rivers to the mouth of Tampa Bay. The migrating silver kings continue their migration along the beaches, turning in and out of the passes with the tides to forage on bait and seeking protection from sharks in open waters. On calm mornings with light winds, it’s easy to spot tarpon rolling as they ingest air into their swim bladder. Often they are moving quickly in pods, ‘grey hounding’, as they move north or south. Those fish are hard to catch. Fish that are slowly rolling in a tight circle or ‘daisy chaining’ are easier to hook. They are apt to eat a sardine, threadfin, grunt or especially small crab placed in their path. Many anglers will choose a lane along the beach that the tarpon are likely to follow. Always give other boats a wide birth as you look for your own lane to work. Try moving quietly with a trolling motor to position your self in front of the fish. Lead them by several yards if possible. Tarpon will spook easily if baits are cast directly onto the school. Remember to use heavier gear when targeting tarpon. Although a long fight on light tackle is fun, it is harmful to the fish. A boat side picture with the fish in the water is less stressful to them and will aid in a quick recovery.
Snook are eating great through all parts of the tides, but outgoing has been best. Pigfish also call ‘grass grunts’ are getting crushed quickly. Sardines are working well too.
Redfishing is still steady as well. High tides along the bushes has been the method that has produced the most fish. Cut baits slung under the limbs will get picked up as long as you leave it in place. Be patient. They will find it.
Trout have been on the beaches. They are foraging all over the grass beds and even the sand, attacking schools of sardines and threadfins in the shallow waters near the shoreline.
Even though summer is approaching, there is usually a breeze to keep us cool. we can even jump in the water to cool off!!! Let’s get you out there for a special day on the water. Call me anytime at 727-365-7560 or e-mail me at brian@captbrian.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Let’s go fishing!

Capt. Brian