Spring is here and the water temps in the Bay continue to rise, approaching the sweet spot of the mid to high 70’s when the fish get frisky and almost jump into the boat. Ideal conditions should continue at least until the middle of May, so there’s never been a better time to check out the stellar spring fishing in the Bay off Lands End Marina.
Water temperature changes in the spring and fall add up to increased numbers of pelagic (travelling) fish as well as more activity from local fish that have been lying low and lethargic during the cooler winter months. Spanish mackerel action has been very good, a sure sign that big king fish are coming, chasing bait on their way north.
King fish are the prime target fish this time of year. Although the majority of big kings are just passing through, they do pause around the shallow reefs. Anchor up and chum if you’re fishing over deep structure. Don’t forget to have a live bait on a flat line while you’re anchored. You can also troll to catch your kings. Either way having a few inches of wire in front of the hook will bring more fish to the boat.
Lots of sheepshead being caught right now on live shrimp and fiddler crabs around the bridge pilings and approaches. Grouper are being caught near the Skyway Piers. Best bait bets are pinfish and grunts. Scaled sardines are catching redfish and snook on the flats.
Red grouper opened April 1st, but regulations differ between state and federal waters. Check your local regulations on the day of your trip to stay on the right side of the law and make sure your fish is a keeper.
Thanks to warmer water conditions trout are moving out of the super shallows and getting ready to spawn. Anglers are landing limits of good-sized trout in 3.5 to 4-feet of water on live pinfish and whitebait.
If you’ve been thinking of planning a trip for the family or friends, now is the time because sea bass are biting like crazy in the Bay. These small but tasty fish are easy to catch and perfect for kids and beginners. Anchor up around a rock or artificial reef, drop a shrimp and see what happens.