The influx of baitfish marks the arrival of spring. Spring is here and so are the baitfish. Following right behind: The predators. From the lowly ladyfish to the prized king mackerel, the spring action in the Tampa Bay area is tough to beat. Toss it in there that speckled trout and redfish action is stellar and snook are responding nicely to warming waters, there may be no better time a year to put in some time on the water.
You name it and we pretty much caught it. There is no doubt, we are on the edge of the Spring action. We had glimpses of it before the last cold front. We had three big mackerel days. I had a tip that they were in an area and after we were done with trout and redfish we stopped to make casts in a pass. Instantly we were both hooked up to very large mackerel. We caught them for a half an hour, every cast. They were in there two more days before the last front drove them out.
Fishing has been good 4 days out of 5 during the “regular situations” with decent tides. That one other day, it can be tough, and it can be tough to predict. On one of the instructional trips, Kyle put in his time and we were on a very large school of redfish but there was no feeding going on. I’d caught one very early that morning on the second cast of the day but otherwise, it was difficult fishing.
Unchanged since the last report : “Targeting and catching mackerel isn’t difficult. With the knowledge of where they are, your work is almost done. They are pretty open to feeding on a variety of lures. It is better to throw flashy type offerings. Personally I like to put the Uncle Neil Teaser in front of them. You can do that in a variety of ways. We did great on the Silly Willy/Teaser combination. We also caught fish with jighead/paddle tails. Presentation is interesting. In my old days I used to rip lures for mackerel. Now I prefer a more subtle method and take a more controlled approach. You try different things to see what works, much like any other kind of fishing. The biggest mackerel were caught on the Uncle Neil Teaser “floating free”, meaning it is an extension of your other lure. Use 12 to 18 inches of 40# leader and have the teaser dragging behind your other lure. My teasers have a lot of flash built into them. The ones I tie for mackerel are slightly longer than my pompano teasers. I think that we catch more mackerel than others because we back off on the drag. A lot of the short striking fish still get hooked if they can take some line.”
The trout action has been very good. A lot more larger fish caught in the past week.
Pompano: Give it one more month. Poachers put out of commission, we should have a much better year.
Flounder: It is already on. They aren’t in like they will be but we had an influx last week of some bigger fish.
Kayak Fishing Skool is March 24, 2016 6:30PM at Bill Jackson’s in Pinellas Park. The topic this month: Redfish. A Classic species, come learn how to be more successful catching redfish.
As always: Be careful out there!
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