Posts Tagged ‘tampa bay’
I know according to the calendar the first day of spring was March 20,but according to my wife it was April 1st. That date is the first time since I can remember that she has asked me to go fishing. You see my wife hates the cold. If it drops below 70 degrees that is a freeze to her. Well our temps are now rising into the 80′s and she is ready and so the fish should be also.
My last trip out was a scouting mission. I have a Redfish tournament to fish a week from now so Redfish have been on my mind. I found some nice fish but not in the quantities I would like. Of course I did not make to far of a run from the tournament launch site so I did limit myself a bit. Not to worry my partner will also be out this coming week looking. We have a huge school we can fish tournament day we just like to have more than one option.
On our scouting mission I also found some good numbers of snook. This was an exciting thing to see as our snook suffered a big hit during this past winters freezing temps.
The big Black Drum I reported on a couple of weeks ago are also still in the area. I will be taking my wife this weekend for her chance to land one.
I have had several other captains give me some good reports of Spanish Mackerel showing up. One of my sources told me his clients put six in the box and they were fishing in the very north end of Tampa Bay. This kind of news really gets me fired up!
Grouper season just opened up and on the first day a good friend of mine made it a point to get out and get a couple for dinner in the shallow waters of the bay.
Tarpon have been sighted already. I am really liking this! If you have never done battle with the Silver King you may want to think about booking a Tarpon Charter.
Spring is here according to my wife and the fish. So get out and get after them. I know I will.
Thanks for stopping by and keep checking back as I keep my reports up to date.
Capt. Steve Betz
This past week the fishing has been fairly decent. The water temp is now up in the low to mid 60s and that’s awesome considering it was in the frigid 40s just a couple of weeks ago.
I changed it up a bit this past week and ran my trips using mostly artificial baits. For some reason the trout seem to be responding better to artificial lures. The lures I have been using have varied depending on the water clarity. The water clarity was not very good in the Tampa bay areas I fished this past week so the best results I got were by using a 1/4oz DOA Glow Shrimp. This is a slow moving bait and crawling it slowly along the bottom or drifting it in the current produced the most bites.
Winter time fishing is a totally different ball game than spring or fall when the water temp hovers in the mid 70s and the fish seem to want to chew the bottom out of the boat. Patience is the name of the game and working your baits slowly and methodically will produce the best action.
On one of my trips this week I made a move further west and fished in the Clearwater area. I love this area and I just don’t get the time to fish it as much as I would like. Small islands dot the area and huge expanses of grass flats never seem to end.
This is a great area to set up a drift and toss soft plastic jigs bouncing them slowly along the bottom to entice the trout into biting. The DOA Shad Tail in Rootbeer with chart tail or the Pearl with Chart tail rigged on a 1/8 oz jig head seemed to do the trick.
I picked up some live shrimp for this trip and after the guys had some fun with the trout I moved and set up on a hole around 25′ deep. This turned out to be a good move. Live shrimp on a 1/0 circle hook and a split shot produce several nice sized whiting. Another move and it was sheepshead and small black drum.
This past week was a productive one and I only expect it to get better. I will be back on the water next week and I will be sure to give a report.
It had been a while since my wife and I had a change of scenery so a little over a month ago we planed a trip to Bonita Springs just two hours south of Tampa.
Good friend and fellow fishing guide Capt. Steve Nagy (Nay- Gee) lives there and runs his guide service on the waters of Estero Bay. Capt. Steve was kind enough to guide us around Estero and show us some of the scenery. The area had just come off of a ten day cold (freeze) snap so my expectations as far as the fishing would be were not very high. I told Capt. Steve not to be to concerned about the fishing as both myself and my wife Karen understood how the harsh cold conditions had a major effect on how the fishing would be. Tampa had also been hit hard by the cold and it just about put the fish bite at a stand still.
We spent two days fishing some very slow and tough conditions with not to much to show for it. We did see a few fish but they were just not willing to eat. I sight casted to a lone snook in the 35″ range and as he turned on the soft plastic artificial I thought it was going to be a hook up. He followed it and then turned off as to say I am just not in the mood.
We kept moving around checking place after place with dismal results. But it was nice to see some different terrain. Estero Bay unlike Tampa Bay is loaded with oyster bars. This is one place that if you do not know the areas waters you stay inside the marked channels.
Day one of our trip yielded a lady fish and one trout. That’s fishing!
Day two we started out with a different plan. Capt. Steve asked me what I would like to do? I told him I thought maybe we should explore some other areas like canals and such where the water temp may be a little higher and hold some fish. Capt. Steve agreed so off we went. We hit some canals and fished the docks and mangrove edges but we were yet to get a bite. After a while I think a little frustration was setting in but I reassured Steve that we knew the conditions were less than favorable and we did not expect miracles. Heck Karen and I were just happy to be on a boat in a place we had not seen before. Capt. Steve made a decision to take us up the Imperial River. As we approached the mouth of the river where it dumps into Estero Bay we could see Trout shooting by under the boat in the crystal clear water. We set up and fished the mouth for a while with no takers.
On we went further up the river. We got to an area and Capt. Steve told us to pitch out our soft plastic baits and we would slow troll them behind the boat. Steve had a good feeling we could hook up on some Jacks in this area. Capt. Steve had the right feeling and it was not but a minute and I was hooked up and then Karen. If you have never caught a Jack on light tackle you don’t know what you are missing.
They will put even the best of tackle to the test. Karen had her hands full fighting her fish on 8 lb test with a Gloomis rod and 2500 series Shimano stradic reel.
After a nice drag ripping battle Karen and I landed our fish and got a quick picture before we released them.As usual Karen gets the larger of the fish. We spent some more time playing with the Jacks catching another half dozen or so. We all agreed we had some fun so off we went to have lunch at the Fish House. After lunch we decided we should get a group picture so we had one of the patrons there snap a picture for us.
After some laughs about the picture we headed off and scouted around some more. The rest of the afternoon was just basically enjoying the beauty of the mangrove lined shorelines and multitude of oyster bars.
It was not a crazy fish catching time but its not always about that. When conditions are not right you just have to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. It wont be long and I am sure Estero Bay will be alive with activity.
I have to say thanks to Capt. Steve for being such a wonderful host and sharing his vast knowledge of Estero Bay with us. Karen and I have already discussed going back in the spring time.
You can check out Capt. Steve Nagy’s web site at www.bonitaspringsfishing.com
Thanks for reading along
Capt. Steve Betz
With this latest cold front comingthrough and a charter on the books I felt a day of scouting was in order.
When we get these cold north winds it can make some drastic changes to the fishing over night. Finding bait to fish with and hungry fish to eat it can go from easy to impossible with a 5 degree drop in water temperature. Today that proved partly true. Finding bait and filling the well with some frisky sardines was like taking candy from a baby. Finding fish that would eat the bait IMPOSSIBLE!
I found plenty of fish today snook,red fish and trout included but not a one would eat any thing that was on a hook. Crazy as it seems the bay water temp went from 65 degrees to 60 degrees in just a couple of days. It was just enough to shut the bite down.
It will take a couple of days and the fishing should pick back up as the fish acclimate themselves to the change.
I am going to head back out tomorrow and try and find some warmer water. Tampa Bay has a couple of power plants that supply some warm water out flow that during times like these can be a haven for many species. The power plants will be my target tomorrow.
I will let you know whats happening there in my next report.
It seems I dont get to spend as much time as I would like fishing with my wife. Karen loves to fish but seems that daily life gets in the way at times.
We made plans to get out this Sunday and do a little inshore reef fishing. As we approached our launch site I knew the plan was going to have to change.
Fog had set in and it was thick. I dont like running in the fog or sitting at anchor in the middle of the bay either. Its just not the safest thing to do as other boaters just can not see you.
So our plan switched to staying close to the mangrove’s in areas the boats would not be running.
After making our way thru the dense fog by GPS we soon had our baits in the water.
Karen was first up with a nice trout. Then it was red fish one after another. All on the small side. The I started catching some trout when I heard Karen say ” I dont know what it is but I have something big!”
I looked over and her rod was bent double. I told her to take it easy and let the rod and the reels drag do the work. That was all the coaching it took and her old fishing censes kicked in and it was reel down and pull up.
The fish made some runs ripping off drag but Karen soon won the battle and landed this nice 30″ Red Drum.
The fog lifted and boat traffic picked up so we decided to call it a nice morningand head back home to watch football.
My guest today was one of my sponsors, Jay Parrish from Bluewater Fishing Supply.
The plan was simple. We were going to fish some shallow water rock piles with in Tampa Bay for grouper.
We made it to our destination in about 18 feet of water. Our hopes were high as the bottom machine was lit up with a nice show of fish. After spending some time dropping baits,trying different presentations we could not buy a bite. After several moves to places I had marked on the GPS the fish just would not eat. It was very clear a change in plans was in order.
After making a short run to a near by shallow water flat we set up and it only took seconds for our baits to get destroyed by snook after snook! We landed around ten of them when we both agreed to leave them chewing and search out some places we had not been in a while. Our next stop produced a couple more snook and then nothing. Time for another move.
We went to a canal and switched gears baiting up with live shrimp and pitching them under docks trying to locate a few sheepshead to take home for dinner. We caught a few but all were on the small side so they were released.
We happend upon a nice school of Jack Crevalle and then the fun began. I threw some chummers out and as the water around us exploded we pitched our baits in and held on as our drag sang! These Jacks were in the 5 to 6 pound range and I am here to tell you they put up one heck of a fight on lite tackle!
We spent some time catching and releasing the Jack Crevalle and after about 8 of them we had our fill and headed back to the ramp for some lunch.
Some times you have to change the plan.