Last Updated on February 28, 2009 by Capt. Jason
2-18-2009 – Trout Limits and Redfish Schools
Unfortunately, I still don’t have my camera back but hopefully some of my clients will send in some of the pictures they took.
About a week ago the bite was hit or miss. Over the last several days though the trout ate really well. And today, finally, the redfish turned on like gang busters.
Yesterday I had Marquis and his wife Rebekah on the boat. Marquis really wanted to get into some snook but the snook are still a little sluggish from our previous weeks of cold weather. So we headed out in search of redfish. I took them to a spot where I had gotten into some good redfish a few days earlier with clients and the signs all looked right at first. We saw a few fish, mullet were everywhere… But after trying it for an hour, we only had one hook up. So we headed out to find some trout. That was the ticket. When we first pulled up to the trout spot, I opened the livewell to grab one of the 72 shrimp I had bought only to find that there was just 5 shrimp in the livewell. Somehow most of the shrimp they had escaped through the drain! I had never had that happen before! Oh well, We caught nice keeper trout on all 5 live shrimp and then I broke out the deadly combo. Frozen shrimp, Cajun Thunder Poppin’ Cork and Slayer Inc. jigheads. The trout ate it up. We soon had our limit and then we were releasing fish becuase we just couldn’t keep any more. I asked Marquis if he wanted to keep catching the trout or if he wanted to try for reds again. He said, “Let’s get a red.” So we hit one more redfish spot. It didn’t take long to spot the reds but they just would not eat. I don’t know what their deal was yesterday.
Today was a different story with the redfish. We fished much farther north than yesterday and found 3 very large schools of redfish. Each school must have been real hungry because we had several double hookups and sometimes several fish woudl chase after the same bait. The most productive lures today were the Sebile suspending minnow and the new Mirr-O-Lure soft plastic jerkbaits fished on Slayer Inc. Lure Co. jig heads.
We’ve got a couple of mild cold fronts coming over the next couple of weeks but I don’t think it will effect the bite too much. It may make the fish move around a bit but I don’t think it wil get cold enough for the fish to get lockjaw again like they had with the last cold front. There are only a few days left open for February. So if you want to go fishing before March, jump on it as soon as you can. As of right now there are 15 days left open in March and it is usually a very busy month so plan ahead if you want to get in on some awesome redfish action.
1-29-2009 Fishing Report
It’s been a great week here in the Tampa Bay area. Most of our fishing charters have run out of Tarpon Springs mainly due to the unbelievable trout fishing and the really good redfishing that’s been going on up here. The Superbowl is this coming weekend and that has brought a lot of visitors to the area and that in turn has created a full week of fishing charters.
This week Trout again were the focus (as is usual this time of year) but redfish have been the “kicker” fish. We’ve been trying to hit the trout spots during the incoming tide and the results have been great. They won’t eat very well on the leaving tide but when the tide starts ripping in, it’s game on. We had one unusual day this week where for what ever reason the trout wouldn’t eat artificial lures very well so we went back to using shrimp fished under a Cajun Thunder bobber. They really seemed to be keying in on that combo. Trout in the 28-25″ range were frequent participants in the good bite. In fact, the size of this fish has been consistently large. We didn’t catch one fish that was too small to keep all week. That was great.
The redfish have been eating cut mullet pretty well. We’ve been getting into them at the barrier islands on low tides and hitting them up on the mainland when the tide comes up. We’ve been waiting to target them until after hitting the morning trout bite and this has rewarded everybody pretty well.
We’ve got a cold front upon us (passed through today) and the wind and temps will keep us off the water until at least Tuesday. But warmer weather is forecasted for the rest of next week so look for more of the same reports next week. Trout and redfish. What could be better? Oh yea…. snook! That’s just around the corner!
1-8-2009 – More Big Trout
Shivers ran up my spine as I walked out to the truck this morning. “Oh no” I thought as I sat in the truck and the thermometer on my rear view mirror said that it was 28 degrees colder than yesterday morning. It made me worry a little about the day’s fishing. “Under sell and over deliver” is kind of my motto when it comes to chartering. I was definitely underselling the day to myself from the get go. But the temperatures climbed quickly today and the fish didn’t seem to mind the chill overnight at all.
I ran all over the place this morning looking for bait before picking up my clients. An hour into the hunt had produced only 3 itty bitty threadfins. Things weren’t looking good. I stopped by one last spot on the way to pick up my guys and praise God bait was everywhere. Things were looking up. After throwing the net several times, I even began to break a sweat underneath my foul weather gear. Things were heating up. I began to think the bite might heat up as well. I was right.
The wind forecast today was to have light winds in the morning and to increase to strong winds later in the day. So, while it was still calm, we headed off on our longest run of the day in hopes to get on the fish before the wind picked up. When we first rolled up to the spot, we must have been 15 minutes early. Just when I was about to give up on spot number one, we got a bite. The fish came unbuttoned but a bite was promising. We hung around a little while longer and we got another bite. This time a nice 20″ trout came over the rail. Shortly after that, another 20″+ trout came in. The bite wasn’t fast and furious but it was steady. For about two hours we stayed at that spot and every few minutes we’d get another large trout. I’m not sure how many we caught but it was around 20 or so trout with the smallest being around 19″ and the biggest being around 24″. Not too shabby.
We left that spot in search of redfish. High tide was not very high so some of my spots would be unreachable. A buddy of mine called and said he had some redfish where he was at and asked if I was interested. I told him I would see him in a minute. When we got there the fish had moved. We couldn’t find them until we had moved about 300 yards down the shoreline. That’s when a school of about 60 fish cruised between us and the shoreline. A nice cast produced a 24″ redfish and the school of reds kept on moving never to be seen again.
Big speckled sea trout were the willing participants again today. Redfish will eat if you can get to them. There’s been a short window to fish for them as our typically low high tides this time of year only allow us a short amount of time to get on them. The trout fishing is better than it has been in 4 years (since our bad red tide some years ago). If you’re looking for a cooler full of fish for a fish fry, now is the time. The only thing that will make it hard to get your limit is finding fish small enough to fit in the slot as the fish have been huge lately.
Yesterday’s trip was a “fun” trip for me and my buddy Capt. Greg DeVault. We took my little boat out to do some scouting for our upcoming trips. We found plenty of redfish but few willing to eat. I just don’t think the water has been high enough for them to be comfortable. We should have higher water, and subsequently more time each day to target them, next week. Greg and I caught some nice reds on Gulp Shrimp and Exude Darts rigged on Slayer Inc. Lure Co.’s 1/8th ounce jig heads.
1-3-2009 – Trout Bite on Fire!
It’s that time of year again. Large number of large speckled sea trout have invaded Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, and Clearwater. As of January 1st, trout season is open in both the North region and the South region. This is very helpful as it gives us many more options to hunt these snaggle toothed sea critters compared to when the season is only open in one region. Charters have been treated to limits of trout on half day trips. The limit on trout in Tarpon Springs and New Port Richey is 5 trout per person and South of Fred Howard park the limit is 4 trout per person. Trout must be between 15 and 20 inches except each angler may keep one trout over 20 inches. The hardest part has been finding fish small enough to keep. That’s a fun problem to have though as large trout put up an exponentially better fight as they get over the 20 inch mark. The bait of choice has been large scaled sardines although when live bait has been scarce, we’ve had good luck using 4″ gulp shrimp rigged on 1/8th ounce Slayer Inc. Lure Co. jig heads.
Redfish are out there and we are getting a few. The only problem is that we’ve been having a short window each day to fish for them. In the winter time here we have lower tides that we do the rest of the year and with our shallow estuary, it can make getting to the fish difficult. Days with higher tides have produced mid-upper slot redfish. They’ve been eating live greenbacks, and a variety of cutbait.
The trout bite should remain strong through the end of February although we will limited to fishing the South region (Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater) for the month of February. The redfish will still bite well on days with higher water. If redfish are what you’re after, please contact Capt. Clay to discuss what days and times woul be best for them.