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Weekly Tampa Bay area fishing report

Posted May 31, 2012 by TBO.com

Updated May 31, 2012 at 09:51 AM

By JIM LEE

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

Freshwater

Pan fish catches are easing off a bit as we move away from the dark of the moon. The next full moon is June 4th. In the meantime, troll beetle spins or other similar lures and pick up good numbers of bluegill and shellcracker. Bass action remains excellent in the summer mode. Fish early and late, but don’t for get night bass fishing. You can troll or drift artificial worms in the deeper haunts or wait until the dewfall and fish top water lures for the big boys that finally come near the shoreline. Lakes Panasoffkee, Okeechobee and Istokpoga are always good for bass action. Live shiners seem to get the larger fish most of the time.     

KISSIMMEE CHAIN: Grape Hammock Fish Camp, (863) 692-1500: Bass action has been good in spite of some of the weather. Bluegill and shellcracker are beginning to pick up again, but not in high numbers just yet. Fishing reports are very spotty and mainly dependant upon the weather.                 

LORIDA-ISTOKPOGA: Trails End Fishing Resort guide service, (863) 655-0134: Weather permitting, bluegill and shellcracker catches will be picking up greatly this week as we approach the full moon. Bass numbers are great with 1 in 10 over 5 pounds.                 

LAKE OKEECHOBBEE: Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina & Resort, 800-473-6766: Bass action is best. Bass anglers are producing bass in the 6 to 7 pound range. Pan fish action here is slow.           

LAKE ROUSSEAU and the Withlacoochee: Captain Frank Bourgeois, (352) 666-6234: NO REPORT.                             

LAKE PANASOFFKEE: Pana Vista Lodge, (352) 793-2061: Shellcracker are being caught in limit numbers. Top water lures fished early will take good numbers. Then take a siesta and come back late in the day. Bass are ranging from 4 to 6 pounds. The coming full moon will produce even better pan fish catches.         

Saltwater

Tarpon catches were interrupted by the weather. The thousands of fish in Boca Grande left for offshore, and will be back as the weather eases and east winds prevail. Most guides that specialize in tarpon had shifted to mostly tarpon fishing, but will have to improvise until the tarpon bite gets better. The boat battle at Boca Grand will continue soon. Then you can expect over 200 boats in the pass, but not now. Tarpon, bull sharks and hammer head sharks will be back. Tarpon will be back around the Skyway Bridge and moving along the beaches in a few days.

The summer cobia are here as are the flounder. While trout fishing have a cobia rig ready. Permit are moving on the wrecks and soon may be closer in on the artificial reefs. In state waters out to 9 miles you can catch red, black, Yellowfin, yellowmouth, rock hind and scamp grouper. The bad news is that most of what grouper you will find will be undersized red grouper. Mackerel are a good easy catch. You can find them in the passes or just troll a Clark or similar spoon. Fish the outgoing tide. Lower Tampa bay still has cobia, bluefish, mackerel, trout and snook.

Snook have moved outside in many areas and are also moving to the barrier islands. Fish the outside beaches at daylight in 6 inches of water. Fly rods work well here. You can also find snook in the backwaters around Ruskin. 
Offshore, Gag grouper are being found in 50 feet off Bayport. It is time that they begin to move offshore. Red grouper are still mostly only 18 inches and under and to keep one they have to be 20 inches.                             

10,000 ISLANDS: Captain Corey McMillin, (239) 695-4420: Snook, redfish and trout are the main events in this area. Live bait rules. The offshore flats are good for trout and cobia on calm days. 

SARASOTA: Captain Rick Grassett, (941) 350-9790 or (941) 923-7799: Tarpon trips are mostly in the bay for tarpon due to the weather. Trout, blues and snook were taken on D.O.A Deadly Combo plus top water Zara Spoon Junior.   

RUSKIN: South Shore Bait & Tackle, (813) 641-2010: Some tarpon have moved up into the bay. Spanish mackerel, trout, bluefish, flounder are still the old standbys in this area. 

SKYWAY AREA: Captain Sergio Atanes, (813) 973-7132: Good catches when the weather permits. With the high numbers of mackerel, trout, some blues and flounder to keep you busy. Fish the Skyway Bridge.

LOWER TAMPA BAY: Captain Tony Frankland, (813) 915-8541: Lots of silver and spotted sea trout to catch. The snook bite is good in the Ruskin back country. Fish the creeks and blind cast into the nooks and crannies. Mackerel and bluefish are also being caught.                                                     

UPPER TAMPA BAY: Cody’s Bait & Tackle, (813) 884-3100: Fishing was good in the creeks and canal, as the winds were not a problem. Redfish are at the creek mouths, the residential canals and canal ‘A’. Snook are biting pretty well, too, when you find them. Fish the ‘A’ canal for snook.                 

SOUTH PINELLAS: Captain Paul Hawkins, (727) 560-6762: Tarpon fishing was tougher this past week with the winds. Tarpon fishing will resume shortly. Ordinarily fish the beaches and channels this time of year. Live bait, lures or flies all work well. Trout, redfish, mackerel and pompano are also on the list in this area.                                 

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, Spanish mackerel or even a stray tarpon. Grouper are off limits to keep. 

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. But catching is still fun. If it is fishing you want, the gag grouper bite is fantastic this time of year and there are plenty of them. Mostly small red grouper are available by the ton, but are also on the no keep list as well as all other groupers. Gray snapper are big and there are plenty of them to keep. 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. Weedon Island fishing is good with a lot of redfish taken by wade fishermen. Trout, redfish, and snook are also being caught. Tarpon are beginning to move into Tampa Bay, so get ready to rock a 100 pound fish.                 

CLEARWATER TO DUNEDIN: Captain Brian Mathey, (727) 667-8291: Snook are on the beaches and are a great target at sunup in the shallows. Mackerel and some bluefish are in the passes. Chum on the outgoing tide for mackerel.               

TARPON SPRINGS: Captain Rich Knox, (727) 376-8809 or (727) 808-6688: Tarpon fishing will be on hold until we get some East winds. The snook bite is very good on live bait. Most of them are in the creek mouths or on the beaches. 

KEATON BEACH (PERRY): One More Cast guide service, (850) 584-9145: Great trout catches reported as the top 10 weighed over 29 pounds. A great afternoon bite made the day. Another top ten went over 27 pounds. Limits were caught by most everyone. Cajun Thunder Float in 3.5 to 4.5 feet deep water worked very well. Some mackerel and redfish were caught, too. 

HERNANDO BEACH: Captain Frank Bourgeois, (352) 666-6234: Captain Frank is still on a businessman’s holiday and is fishing in the Florida Keys. Tune in next week.

WEEKIWACHEE: Captain Steve Soults, Angling Adventures (352) 686-0853: NO REPORT.                               

FLY FISHING: Tarpon moved off the area and should be back when the east winds resume. Snook are a great fly target on the barrier island beaches at daybreak in shallow water. Blind cast the drops and deeper waters for bigger trout. Go thrash the water.

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