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Weekly Fishing Report
Posted Feb 17, 2012 by The Tampa Tribune
Updated Feb 18, 2012 at 01:43 AM
By JIM LEE
Bass catches were excellent but have slowed a little while the moon fills out. High numbers of males are in some areas indicating bass may get to go on the beds if the coming front is mild. Speckled perch catches have been very good. Some are in the grass and some are still staging to spawn.
KISSIMMEE CHAIN: Grape Hammock Fish Camp, (863) 692-1500: Speckled perch have been off a little with average catch in the 8 to 10 fish category. The specks are large and full of roe. Winds over the weekend wrecked a couple of bass tournaments, however one angler took an 8 pound bass in the river.
LORIDA-ISTOKPOGA: Trails End Fishing Resort guide service, (863) 655-0134: Bass action has been good. Bass in the 6, - 8-, and 9 pound range are being caught. Specks were off a little this week. But those that were caught were good size fish. Some had spawned out, while others were still full of roe. Minnows and jigs are the baits to use. This is one of the best lakes where Limits of bass and specks can be taken in the same day.
LAKE OKEECHOBBEE: Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort, 800-473-6766: Bass anglers unite and to the big ‘O”. Good bass catches with bass up to 8 pound common. No report on speckled perch.
LAKE ROUSSEAU: Captain Frank Bourgeois, (352) 666-6234: This Lake is in the pre spawn mode. Lots of smaller males are being caught. The females should be on the beds soon unless it gets way too cold.
LAKE PANASOFFKEE: Pana Vista Lodge, (352) 793-2061: Bass are on the beds. Some big bass have been caught and they range in the 3-, 7, - and up to 10 pound fish. Speckle perch are sparse, but you can catch a few. As spring approaches, we have only a couple of months before bluegill and shellcracker will be back on the beds and this is a great lake for these fish.
Inshore fishing is fair with some snook, short redfish and some speckled trout and silver trout. Sheepshead are thick, but not the really big ones. Mostly males are being caught. Some whiting are also being caught in the Kitchen area and the upper bay. Some snook are being caught. Flounder are still being found.
Offshore you can keep grunt and black sea bass. All grouper are illegal according to NOAA. They are illegal, but they are so plentiful, anglers are throwing back gags up to 24 inches.
10,000 ISLANDS: Captain Corey McMillin, (239) 695-4420: NO REPORT.
SARASOTA: Captain Rick Grassett, (941) 350-9790 or (941) 923-7799: Sarasota Bay was the hot area this week. Trout and redfish are being taken in shallow waters on both fly and jigs. Several in-slot trout were taken in Sarasota Bay early in the week. Another trip took three reds and several trout are in shallow water running from 2 to 4 pounds. Another fly trip took 12 trout and 2 redfish.
RUSKIN: South Shore Bait & Tackle, (813) 641-2010: Snook are us with good numbers reported. Catches of silver trout, speckled trout, flounder, redfish and sheepshead continue to be taken in this area. Trout and redfish are a little undersized, but plentiful. Live bait rules.
SKYWAY AREA: Captain Sergio Atanes, (813) 973-7132: Sheepshead are still us. Catches of 30 to 40 sheepshead persist, keeping anglers very happy. Add in a trout and a few black drum and you have the set up for a great day on the water. Live shrimp and a shrimp tail on a jig work well for both sheepshead and reds…
LOWER TAMPA BAY: Captain Tony Frankland, (813) 915-8541: Fish the back country creeks for snook in the warmer weather. Sheepshead are around structure and the docks. Fish the grass flats for trout, but don’t’ expect them to be too big. There are a few keeper size redfish. Jacks and lady fish will round out the day.
UPPER TAMPA BAY: Cody’s Bait & Tackle, (813) 884-3100: Trout and redfish are the main events here. A few snook can be found, but they are usually small. Fish Canal A for reds and snook. Fish the mouths of the creeks for redfish. Fish the grass on the Western area for trout too…
SOUTH PINELLAS: Captain Paul Hawkins, (727) 560-6762: Redfish, trout and pompano are in the area for the taking. Redfish catches improved this week. Trout generally are smaller, but fish the drops, channels and deeper spots for keeper size trout. .
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 more snook than expected.
CLEARWATER TO DUNEDIN: Captain Brian Mathey, (727) 667-8291: If you get to the spoil islands before the hoards of other boats, you will most likely find some nice trout. Fish the deeper waters surrounding the spoil islands for trout.
TARPON SPRINGS: Captain Rich Knox, (727) 376-8809 or (727) 808-6688: The water temperature is 55 degrees. Fish artificial lures and jigs for trout, but they are a little slow. By 3 P.M. the water Temperature was only a few degrees hotter. Redfish were not to be found. White bait was found, but no fish at the white bait. 20 trout were taken out of the deep holes.
KEATON BEACH (PERRY): One More Cast guide service, (850) 584-9145: NO REORT.
HERNANDO BEACH: Captain Frank Bourgeois, (352) 666-6234: There are lots of gag grouper offshore. Reports of no gag grouper in this area are false. There are lots of keeper size gag and some red grouper being caught in 40 feet of water. 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. Fish Homosassa area, but watch for rocks. All grouper have been placed off limits.
WEEKIWACHEE: Captain Steve Soults, Angling Adventures (352) 686-0853: Good grouper and grunt catches in 25 and 30 feet of water off Bayport. Black sea bass are also being caught.
FLY FISHING: Fly fishing for trout and redfish is at an all time high. Get out there with a Clouser on the end of your string and go thrash the water.