Gator Trout Tampa Bay
<p>Lower Tampa Bays gator trout action is hot! Before we get to the action we started by gathering bait on the grass flats rather than fighting 1-2' swells along the local bridges. A few minutes of chumming and 7 throws of the cast net and we were good to go.
Needing the tide to rise along Mangrove Islands for redfish Captain Steven targeted trout in 2-4' of water dotted with sandy potholes. These potholes are grocery stores for trout. I am finding the big trout in slightly cooler deeper water not the 1-'2 areas that gator trout called home the previous 3 months. Fly lined white baits on 2/0 circle hooks and 25 pound fluorocarbon leader completes our rigging. I choose the 25 pound leader vs. 15 or 20 as the area we are fishing also holds big redfish.
First baits in resulted in chunky trout all 18-20". The trout were very aggressive and would inhale baits as big as 5" with ease. Unlike small trout big trout are solitary or in small schools so I move as soon as we go 10 minutes without another fish. I make small moves 25 to 50 yards using the trolling motor. Next stop same results. The trout bite was awesome to say the least with many over 20" with a beautiful 26" topping the day.
Next up I ran to the beach for mackerel and Kingfish. Winds were more SE than ESE so there was 1-2' swells along the beach so rather than bounce around we move back inside for redfish. Focusing on mullet schools near mangrove islands we were able to take 4 reds 19-23" in 30 minutes. Cut white baits soaked in the mullet schools did the trick. Again very simple tactics but very effective.
The deeper grass flats 4-6' offered lots of smaller trout 13-16" with mackerel and bonnet head sharks mixed in. If you keep getting cut off beef up leader to 30-40 pound and use long shank hooks. Fun action and a great way to end the day.
Captain Steven Markovich
About The Author: Captain Steven Markovich
Company: On The mark Charters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay
Bio: Capt. Steven Light tackle fishing at its finest. Tarpon, redfish, snook, cobia, trout and other exciting game fish. Day or Night join USCG licensed Capt. Steven of On The Mark charters for an incredible day on Tampa Bay. Beautiful scenery and wildlife, Dolphin, Manatees, Egrets and Ibis are just some of the wildlife you may see. Book a charter today!