The other day a four-year-old young man wearing a baseball cap and a Zebco Fishing T-shirt walked into the Bait House followed closely by his father. He looked up at me and said. “I want some live shrimp and my dad wants some frozen shrimp.” I asked him why he wanted the live bait and he explained to me like only a child could, “Everyone knows that fish like the live shrimp better. My dad just doesn’t know anything.” Now there’s a future fishing show host.
The Intracoastal Waterway Comes Alive!
Some say that it is being caused by the Gulf’s water settling down and clearing after being churned up by Hurricane Ike. Others claim it is because of our temperature change. Whatever the reason, fishing the intracoastal waterway has just come alive. For the last three or four days, the size and number of fish has increased tremendously. Large mangrove snappers, Spanish mackerels, sea trout and gag groupers are being caught on a pretty regular basis by boat, pier, or shore fishing. Suddenly larger redfish and snook are being seen and caught consistently around docks and marinas. Whatever the reason for this increase in fish, we are thankful.
Let’s take a look at what’s working with this sudden change of fortune. Snook, gag groupers, and mackerels are all going after live pinfish, finger mullets, and greenbacks. A local man caught a 22.5 lb. gag grouper at the small piers next to the Bait House using live pinfish. When I talked to him the next day he had just had his line broken by another one. He was using 65 lb. test line. Now that’s a fish! Mangrove snappers, sea trout, and even a few cobias are being caught on live or frozen shrimp and frozen squid. Sheephead are biting on sand fleas and fiddler crabs especially around docks or pylons. Keep your eye out for smaller sharks and rays that are also being caught just about everywhere.
I asked my coworkers where on the intarcoastal they would recommend fishing and this is what they came up with. Big Al recommends the small inlets by the island’s library and rec center. Bill (Duffy) said that he’d recommend the grass flats by Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands. Both spots are hot lately. I’m still impressed by the fish being caught on the piers and shoreline of the Memorial Causeway. Many anglers have been telling us that they have had a lot of success with multiple species at Johns Pass and the Skyway Bridge.
Remember, all this information is being reported to us by fellow anglers, both tourists and locals, amateurs and professionals. We welcome any information you can offer to help everyone have a successful day on the water. I can be emailed at Jim2988@msn.com.
Also, if you do get lucky and catch that big one, send or drop off a picture of it and we’ll make sure it gets a place of honor on the Bait House wall. Don’t forget that we have slips for you to dock at while you pick up your bait, tackle, and snacks. Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina
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