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Heading offshore might be a risk
Posted Apr 19, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune
Updated Apr 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM
By FRANK SARGEANT
With severe thunderstorms possible both days of the weekend, it might be better to forget offshore fishing — if you can during prime kingfish time. Big kings are being caught all along the west central Florida coast, most by slow-trolling big live baits on stinger rigs, and that bite will actually be better in choppy water, so if weather allows and you’ve got a big, seaworthy boat, go for it.
There are all the Spanish anybody could want both on the near-shore artificial reefs and inside lower Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor — just look for the bird tornadoes and crank fast-moving jigs or small spoons through the breaking fish, or anchor up on the spoil bars along the ship channels and chum.
In fresh water, captain Sean Rush continues to wear out the trophy bass at Rodman with catches of 30 to 40 per day, lots in the 5-pound class and plenty of 7-pounders and up, including an occasional 10-pounder, all on big wild shiners. Rush says the lake is nearing full pool after the winter drawdown, but the fish just keep biting; http://www.floridatrophybass.com.
At Okeechobee, captain Mike Shellen said the bluegills will spawn on the new moon this weekend – any hard-bottom areas around vegetation in 1-3 feet are likely, just look for the pie-plate-sized beds. Live worms and grass shrimp are the top baits. Bass fishing is dependable for fish of 1-3 pounds, but the lunker bite of earlier has ended with the spawn. Topwaters are effective early, Shellen said, soft jerkbaits after mid-morning. Lake level is 12 feet and falling – carefull navigation is required in many areas; http://www.okeechobeebassfishing.com.