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Snook, redfish active in inshore bay waters

Posted Apr 22, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune

Updated Apr 22, 2012 at 11:20 PM

By BILL MILLER

Inshore bay fishing is just about as good as it gets. Recent reports have big snook very active and hungry. This is a good sign. The snook population was decimated by the freeze a few years ago and recovery has been slow. The recent hot bite indicates progress has been made but still has a ways to go.

Redfish have moved up into Tampa Bay. Big schools have been spotted around 4th Street, the St. Pete/Clearwater Airport, Bullfrog Creek and McKay Bay. Live shrimp under a cork has been a hot bait along with artificials like a gold spoon, MirrOdine or DOA shrimp.

Speckled trout can be found on bay area grass flats. Look for grass in 3-5 feet of water for the best action. Live white bait has been the best bait. Shrimp also work well but are susceptible to pinfish and other grass dwelling bait stealers. Good trout artificials are soft plastic jigs in a bait fish color and old school bucktail jigs like the Pumpkin jig in white or yellow.

Captain Jesse Mayer says the permit have moved to the artificial reefs off Anna Maria, St. Pete and Clearwater. Silver dollar sized crabs and big live shrimp free lined over the reefs will usually get a strike if permit are there.

Red grouper are easily caught in depths of 75 feet and out, reports captain Tommy Lorange. Lorange says lack of fishing pressure has made the red grouper fishing off the charts over scattered rock bottom. There is plenty of rock bottom out there with no fish but rock bottom with bait on it is the place where the fish are.

More tarpon are showing up daily at bay area bridges.

Kingfish are still around and can be caught if the winds die down.

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