Mid March Report For Tampa Bay
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Wow! It has been nice out, just amazing how different this year is to last. I mean 80 degrees in February and early March. It has really been nice out. It makes the fishing so pleasant. Not to mention it seems like everything is biting.
Inshore the Snook have been on fire. Snook have been very consistent each day; some of the best days this past week we easily landed over 50. The largest have been around 30 inches or so, not monsters but good ones. There are some schools of larger ones but I have been targeting numbers more than size lately because the guys seem to prefer the action. Plus the large schools of smaller Snook have had a lot of nice keeper size Redfish mixed in with them which makes for a lot of fun and some meat for the box.
The Reds have been very consistent this past month with lots of keepers and fish of all sizes. Most of the schools I have been fishing you are just as likely to catch a 16 inch on one cast and a 32 incher on the next, with fish of all sizes in between. It's good to see such diversity of age-class fish. I think it shows for an even more promising future for our Redfish. There is no doubt our Red fishing continues to get better.
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Trout fishing is good as it always is this time of year. Much like last year it seems it will be a better year than most. Not just because of the numbers of Trout we catch, but it just seems the size is better than it has been in awhile. There are a ton of 20 plus inch Trout in many places. Some of my spots are also loaded with those 16 to 19 inchers, as fast as you can reel them in. It's nice to see so many keeper size fish. It's nice not to have to weed through a million dinks to catch a few keepers.
Offshore has been on fire as well. Kingfish are already moving in thick. Mackerel are everywhere with hard fighting False Albacore mixed in. Cobia is also on the beach and on near shore reefs. The Grouper are so thick it's a joke, though you can't keep them. Mangrove Snapper are also biting well. I have also been catching lots of nice flounder inshore and offshore. I have not tried Permit yet but I would bet I could find some if I needed to on the calmer days, the water is plenty warm enough. The Goliath Grouper should be hungry too with the rising water temp. I haven't had anyone ready for the challenge as of lately, but I'm sure it will be easy to get hooked up. There are also a few Tarpon in the bay biting.
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I still have a few dates scattered throughout March and April for some fast spring action. Tarpon season is right around the corner, I switch over to Tarpon May 1st and it should be a great season. I have a few dates available, but not many, for those of you who want to Tarpon fish. For those of you that know me, if the sun is shining during Tarpon season I am on the water and I can also find time to squeeze another Tarpon trip in. It's my favorite thing to fish for, no doubt.
Well I hope you enjoy this report. Get out there and catch some fish.
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.