Summer Fishing in the Bay

Summer fishing in the bay is like most fishing anywhere in the summer. Fish will be in the shallows early morning, move to deeper water as the sun rises, and finally moving back into shallow water as the sun sets. Obviously, this is all dependent of tides too. Once the water starts getting into the high 70’s you’ll start seeing more bait show up. Pin fish and LY’s are most plentiful during the summer months. Easily caught with a cast net, these bait fish are perfect for catching Red fish and big Trout. If using artificial, you try to mimic the bait as best as possible. Big paddle tails, or suspending twitch baits work well during the summer months and just about everything will eat it.

Start off early morning with a top water plug of choice and if possible have a live bait swimming behind the boat. It can be tricky, especially if both rods have fish on them. You’ll just have to figure that out on your own though! As the sun rises the fish go deeper. That’s when you should move to a suspending bait or something you can keep either on or near the bottom. The key is keeping the bait in the strike zone and working the bait to entice a strike. It has to look realistic before they’ll even look at it. Presentation is key! As sun sets the bait will take refuge in places they can easily hide in. Grass beds, docks, floating or submerged structure all sound like perfect spots to hide to me. About an hour before sunset, try to start throwing top water again. Usually you can forget about the live bait, unless fishing that exclusively. Target the areas mentioned above, more than likely there is something waiting to ambush prey. Hope this helps if you’re having trouble catching fish. Remember to check the tide and be proactive, move around if one spot doesn’t produce. You never know what could be waiting just around the next bend!

A Few Days of Fishin'

Well after being skunked in Palm Harbor and Clearwater on Spring Break, I finally got on some fish. It all started when me and my buddy TJ went fishing mid-week. We started fishing some structure. Top water was a bust, so we moved to slow sinking baits. We worked a few docks with little success. Then we rolled up on some small juvenile Tarpon. We both threw at them a few times and then backed off and changed up baits. TJ ended up getting a solid Trout on a D.O.A. Split Tail Shad with a weighted 1/8 oz worm hook. I skipped a big 6” paddle tail under a dock, gave it two quick rips and let it sink. Did that again, once more. After the third time I saw two black silhouettes jet out from under the dock. The first one turned away, as soon as he did that the second one lunged at my bait and BOOM. I was hooked up on my first Tarpon. My heart was racing, knees shaking, PURE ADRENALINE! After a few jumps and knocking my GoPro almost off my kayak, I finally get it in my kayak. A few flops later, it self released back into the water. BUMMER….. Even though it shook the hook in my kayak and I never got a picture with it. It’s a memory I’ll never forget.

On Friday my wife and I went out looking for some Red Fish. We had just the right amount of wind to drift about a qtr mile flat that varies in depth, with a lot of grass beds. Bait was around, not swarmed, but some good school’s. While drifting this long flat, every now and then I’d see a Red or a few Trout bolt out from grass beds and pass over the sandy bottom moving to another grass bed, or chasing bait. My wife ended up catching a small flounder about 10.5”. A good sign that they are moving again. After about an hour I was standing and looking for fish while drifting. I saw a blue tail and a slight silhouette. I tossed my ZMan Electric Chicken Paddle Tail a few feet in front of it. As soon is I made my first twitch, that Red wasted no time going after my bait. Hooked up! I didn’t measure it, but it was close to slot of not a little over.

Saturday I took my neighbor friend Jack out to Crooked Island. We only planned on being out there for a few hours, just to check some areas and see what was around. Jack didn’t have a Fishing License, so he was just there to try out the kayak and see what he was missing out on! Needless to say it turned into a Red Fish Frenzy. I managed to catch 7 in about an hour or just short of an hour. Heck I caught three in less than 7 minutes! Overall, it was a good week of fishing. Found a few new spots to fish, and got my first Tarpon!