Summer is here and along with the weather, the fishing is hot in the waters off Lands End Marina. Along with several newly opened seasons, we’re seeing many varieties of popular game fish being caught on the flats in the bay and out in the gulf.
If you’re looking to take a ride, scallop season opened the last weekend of June north of the Marina. We’ve seen many of our customers head out north of the Pasco/ Hernando county line. The waters off of Homosassa and Chrystal River are always a productive area to take advantage of scalloping. Scalloping can be done from the northern Pasco county line all the way into to the Panhandle.
Gag grouper opened July 1st in both State and Federal waters in all local counties. The current size/bag limit on gag grouper is minimum 22″ and two fish per angler. Top baits include pinfish and grunts. They can also be caught trolling with deep diving plugs or soft plastics behind a downrigger. The season is open into December, but always double check the regulations to make sure they haven’t changed them.
Big snook are being spotted and caught on the docks, passes and beaches. Snook season isn’t open yet, so it’s strictly catch-and-release right now. You can’t keep them, but you can fish for them. Just remember to handle snook with care, since every specimen you’re likely to land this time of year is a spawning female. Keep them in the water, take a quick picture and let them go.
Trout, Redfish, Cobia, Tripletail, and Snapper
The trout and redfish bite is still going strong on the flats. In the deeper parts of the bay anglers are landing big mangrove snapper. Minimum size is 10″ and the bag limit is 5 per day. Check your local regulations for aggregate snapper bag limits.
We’re still seeing cobia in the flats but most of these fish are hanging out around the markers, antennas, lights and other big structures in the Bay. It’s the time of year to start hauling in tripletail, a tasty fish that also hangs out around buoys, pilings and other structures. Ease up on them and find them by sight – they should be visible in the first couple feet of the water column. Catch them on live shrimp or small live bait.
Sharks are being caught all over the bay, but we have to encourage everyone to let these top predators live to see another day. The local shark population has faced increasing pressure over the years from commercial fishing interests. Sharks are an important part of the food chain and help keep the system in balance. If you land one, we ask that you take a picture and let it go.
Lastly, we’re starting to see some big flounder pulled up in the bay and around Fort De Soto. The key to catching flounder is to fish for them really slowly. Drop a live bait or grub close to the bottom and just creep it along. Flounder are ambush hunters. Instead of actively seeking bait, they wait for a likely food source to swim by then pop up and grab it.