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Weekly fishing report

Posted Feb 2, 2012 by Tribune Sports

Updated Feb 2, 2012 at 02:34 PM


Weekly Fishing Report

Fishing results and tips for freshwater and saltwater spots, including Tampa Bay and area locations.


Speckled perch (crappie) are in the grass in some areas or staging to spawn in other areas. Catches are full of roe. With our mild weather, bass action is at its best. Live shiners usually take larger fish, but high numbers and an occasional big boy can be taken on artificial lures.

KISSIMMEE CHAIN: Grape Hammock Fish Camp, (863) 692-1500: Speckled perch catches have been good. The best catches are still coming in late in the evening or at night. They are staging along the grass line and may be spawning this week. Limits of bass are being taken by most. Most are in the 2- to 6-pound range.

LORIDA-ISTOKPOGA: Trails End Fishing Resort guide service, (863) 655-0134: Limits of speckled perch are filling coolers. Bass action continues to be better than expected for this time of year.

LAKE OKEECHOBBEE: Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort, 800-473-6766: Bass are us, but not too many specks reported. Bass up to 10 pounds seem to be the norm these days. Limits of bass are also normal in this area.

LAKE ROUSSEAU: Captain Frank Bourgeois, (352) 666-6234: The Withlacoochee River is producing good catches of bass. Lake Rousseau bass catches are improving. Some speckled perch are being caught in Lake Rousseau.

LAKE PANASOFFKEE: Pana Vista Lodge, (352) 793-2061: Lots of bass for this time of year. Limits are the norm. Bass in the 6- to 8-pound category can be found in this lake. Speckled perch catches are spotty.


Catches generally remain about the same in the Tampa Bay area. Spotted sea trout are open along the whole coastline and should stay that way. Catches are good in some areas, with smaller fish found in others. Sheepshead, flounder, redfish and a few bluefish are being taken. Offshore, there are plenty of gag grouper in 40 to 50 feet, but are not legal to take. Red grouper catch numbers increased to four fish, but finding a keeper size red grouper is about 1-in-100. Both redfish and trout were on the flats this past week with the great weather we have been having. Fish the docks with live bait. Flounder are still inshore and are most anywhere from the Skyway to Crystal River. Lots of sheepshead up to 9 pounds are being caught most everywhere. Fish the docks, structure, canals and any place that will hold fish.

10,000 ISLANDS: Captain Corey McMillin, (239) 695-4420: NO REPORT.

SARASOTA: Captain Rick Grassett, (941) 350-9790 or (941) 923-7799: Wade fishing in Sarasota Bay produced redfish and trout. Another day saw Spanish mackerel, bluefish and trout caught.

RUSKIN: South Shore Bait & Tackle, (813) 641-2010: Great catches this week. Catches of trout, flounder, redfish and sheepshead continue to attract anglers in this area. Trout and redfish continue to be a little undersize, but the catching is good. Fish the Kitchen area for a mixed bag of silver trout, speckled trout and redfish. Snook are still being caught up the creeks and canals.

SKYWAY AREA: Captain Sergio Atanes, (813) 973-7132: Still catching high numbers of sheepshead in this area. Most are in the 3- to 9-pound range. Catches of 20 to 30 sheepshead are still being taken. Good numbers of redfish are also on the menu.

LOWER TAMPA BAY: Captain Tony Frankland, (813) 915-8541: Trout and snook inhabit the canals and backwater areas. Fish the deeper canals in Apollo beach, under the docks and oyster beds. Whiting are a good food fish and now is the time to find them. Snook catches are up. Sheepshead are under docks and can be caught with a shrimp tail threaded on a jig head.

UPPER TAMPA BAY: Cody’s Bait & Tackle, (813) 884-3100: Trout and redfish are in abundance in this area. Fish Canal A for reds and snook. Fish the mangroves for reds at the mouths of the creeks.

SOUTH PINELLAS: Captain Paul Hawkins, (727) 560-6762: Trout, redfish, mackerel and pompano are all around for the taking. Move fast with jigs rather than using live bait. Watch for mullet schools with redfish or trout mixed in with them.

FISHING PIERS: South Pier, (941) 729-0117: Expect the unexpected. Pier fishing offers most of the current species being caught in the bay. Fish the pier for Mangrove snapper, trout, redfish, perhaps a flounder and even a stray grouper. But you can’t keep the trout until January. Grouper are off limits.

MID-PINELLAS PARTY BOATS: Offshore bottom fishing from Hubbard’s John’s Pass Marina and Kingfish dock, (727) 393-1947: Gag grouper are not in season just as the bite gets good. Red grouper are available by the ton, but most all are short fish. The ration of keepers to undersize fish is 1-to-100. Gray snapper are big and there are plenty of them. Go offshore for a deep sea fishing extravaganza. Fish the deeper waters for great mangrove snapper catches. Black sea bass, porgies are also on the list.

GANDY BAIT & TACKLE: (813) 839-5551: The Gandy Bridge is closed to fishing. However, Gandy Bait and Tackle is the place to go in this area for live bait and tackle and information. The upper bay action is picking up. Mangrove snapper, whiting and sheepshead are moving up into the bay. Weedon Island is producing trout and redfish.

CLEARWATER TO DUNEDIN: Captain Brian Mathey, (727) 667-8291: NO REPORT.

TARPON SPRINGS: Captain Rich Knox, (727) 376-8809 or (727) 808-6688: Good white bait can be found, but artificial lures are taking the trout. Cobia were sighted on the flats. Big 30 inch mackerel were spotted in a foot of water.

KEATON BEACH (PERRY): One More Cast guide service, (850) 584-9145: NO REORT.

HERNANDO BEACH: Captain Frank Bourgeois, (352) 666-6234: Fillman’s Bayou and Chassahowitzka back water areas are where the reds and trout are being caught. The trouble is that you need a shallow draft boat these days with the low tides. Fish the high tides only or you may have a problem. Homosassa is another good trout and redfish area, but watch for rocks. High numbers of trout are being reported taken in the potholes. Offshore fishing is still fantastic. Gag grouper are big and hungry, but expect to return them to the water. Many keeper-size fish are still being caught and released. Very few red grouper are being caught. You can keep four red grouper over 20 inches, but there aren’t many to find.

WEEKIWACHEE: Captain Steve Soults, Angling Adventures (352) 686-0853: Fishing up rivers is good. Also, fish Fillman’s Bayou for trout and redfish. The flats are not producing big trout.

FLY FISHING: Lets see now, mackerel, redfish, trout and sheepshead should be enough to keep any fly angler busy until we get more kingfish and cobia. Watch for schools of redfish or schools of mullet that may hold reds or trout. Go thrash the water.

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