Tampa Bay Spring Fishing Arrives
Its official, looks like winter is over here in Tampa Bay anyway. I just got done taking a look at the 10 day extended forecast at www.intellicast.com . Its calling for mid 75 degree weather for the next ten days. The fishing is going to explode as water temps go from winter conditions to spring conditions almost overnight. It has been a long winter for us, the longest winter I can remember in 16 years. We managed to do some pretty darn good fishing through it, but nothing like the next few weeks will bring. We just started catching live greenbacks, also known as pilchards or white bait. They are the life blood to all charter captains in these parts come spring time. Once the water gets over 64 degrees you have to have them to really put the hammer on the fish. I would say by the end of the week we will be done chucking shrimp and be totally switched over to greenbacks by the looks of the forecast.
We are set up for a tremendous spring fishery. It's no secret that there are more Redfish around than ever. A few more warm days like we are having and the big Reds are going to explode on the shallow flats as they always do this time of year.
Trout fishing is peeking as well. I have never caught so many keepers and large ones as I have this winter. I can just imagine what it's going to be like in a week. We catch nice Trout on shrimp but once we start chucking greenbacks we really get the multiple giants on. There are more and bigger Trout now than I have ever seen since I have been in the business.
The Snook are still suffering, but the good news is there is a very aggressive stocking program going on and we did see a few more this fall on the flats before they went into their wintering grounds. We should catch more Snook than last year while targeting the Reds this spring.
There are still plenty of Sheepshead and Black Drum around to catch although I believe I'm done targeting them for the year. My focus will be more on large Reds and Trout on the shallow flats along with a few Snook for the next month or so.
Around the middle to the end of March we will start heading offshore some for Kingfish, Tunny and Mackerel. April is always a great month offshore, Grouper come into season and it's generally my best month offshore. Flats fishing is really good then too.
May will be the beginning of peak Tarpon season and anyone that knows me knows that's what I will be doing till the bulk of them disappear in late July.
I have a few dates open for the next few weeks of February and March. Fishing is going to get awesome with this spring weather. Also, if you are planning a Tarpon charter, don't wait too long. I don't have a lot of openings available as is.
Hope you have enjoyed the report.
Capt. Matt Ercoli
About The Author: Captain Matt Ercoli
Company: Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters
Area Reporting: Tampa Bay to Sarasota Florida
Bio: Capt. Matt Ercoli is a premier Florida Gulf coast fishing guide and 1999 Saltwater Flats National Champion. He has assisted clients to five IGFA world records. Capt. Matt's experience and knowledge of local waters assures a successful day of fishing. Whether you prefer light tackle fishing or you're a fly-fishing purist, Capt. Matt can accommodate you. Fishing possibilities include the clear saltwater flats and mangrove backcountry from Tampa Bay & St. Petersburg to Sarasota; fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish and trout. If your preference is offshore fishing, there is permit, kingfish, grouper, little tunny, shark and more.