"The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be." --John Gierach
Warm enough for you? How many times have you heard that lately? Seems we've either tied or broken the record high temperature every day for the last week. Local anglers are hard to find in the midday heat, but the ones that we do find are catching fish. Most of these anglers are fishing under bridges and trees where they can at least get some shade.
Others are staying cool by wading out into the water and fishing from there.
Early mornings fishing in the surf have been a hot spot for some great Snook fishing. The baits of choice for these great fighters are greenbacks, pinfish, and live shrimp usually free-lined. Remember though, while you can catch Snook, you cannot keep them. They are still out of season. Also in the surf, we are seeing large schools of big Tarpon rolling on the top of the water. Known for their spectacular acrobatics and jumps, Tarpons are one of our areas favorite sport fish. Their huge size and large silver scales make me think of them as the armored truck of fish. I've spoken to some of our local charter guides and they are sight fishing these monsters with live crabs, pinfish, sand perch, and mullets. Heavy monofilament leaders are needed because of the Tarpon's rough mouth. Spinning and bait-casting rods are the normal gear used but some anglers are having great sport by using heaving fly fishing rod and reel. While the average tarpon weighs 50 to 75 pounds, local media quoting the FWC stated that they are seeing more 100 to 120 pound fish than they have seen in many years. The world record on Tarpon is 283 pounds, 4 ounces. If you do not have a boat, you can still get into some Tarpon action using our local piers and bridges. I recently hooked my first Tarpon off of a pier but didn't have big enough equipment to put up much of a fight let alone land him, but what an incredible 60 seconds of fishing that was. Now I have to get the chance to land one of these great fish. Grouper, Snappers, King fish, Sharks, Spanish Mackerels, and Jacks are also in full swing off-shore.
Reports on in-shore fishing have been very encouraging. Anglers are hitting Flounders on the sea grass edges using almost any live or cut bait. If you are a Sea Trout fan, you'll find them almost everywhere in the intra-coastal waterway. Redfish are abundant in channels, eddies, and the edges of islands. While live and cut bait are working well, we've seen several Reds caught on jigs with artificial rubber.
There have been lots of changes around the Bait House lately and we invite you to stop by and check out all of the new gear that we are now carrying. We also have some specials on rod and reel combos. In the next column, we'll look at the fishzilla situation and explore the possibilities that someone (hopefully me) will catch that monster. I'm still trying. Just a note of thanks to all the anglers who stop by or email me with their fishing reports so I can pass them on to you. I can be emailed at Jim2988@msn.com and as always, Good Luck Out There!
Jim can be found daily at the Bait House - Clearwater Municipal Marina, phone 446-8134
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