Schools of reds on Fort De Soto flats
GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Bill Miller. Red fishing in Tampa Bay is getting better by the day, reports captain Brett Norris. Norris said big schools can be found on the Fort De Soto flats. Stealth is the key to keeping the reds nearby and hungry. Too much noise will send the reds running and decrease the chances for success. Top baits include fresh cut pinfish and ladyfish along with live pins and white bait. Captain Billy Miller has been loading the box with big trout, Spanish mackerel, blue fish blacktip sharks and lots of other action fish over the deep grass flats. A chum block and a few stunned white baits behind the boat will keep the action going strong.Fishing with Miller 5 miles off St. Pete Beach, Dave Healy limited out on big gag grouper with red grouper, mangrove snapper and white grunts mixed in. Tarpon are still active at the Redington Pier. A.J. Helenyk released three and Troy Romano, Greg LaChance, Janet Rushon, Sam Rodriguez and captain Eddie Harrington all released one tarpon during the morning tide. Big pinfish and pumpkin seeds have been the best baits. Bill Burrows released two tarpon and Larry Rudisill released another off St. Pete Beach using fresh shad on the bottom. Grouper fishing off Bayport in shallow water is hot for captain Jim Bradley. Eric and Zachary Coppin along with Jacob Duwa all limited out on big gags in only 10 feet of water. The key to catching grouper this shallow, according to Bradley, is anchoring off the rocks and casting back to them. Frozen Spanish sardines were the bait of choice. Scalloping is good between Homosassa and Crystal River, says captain Jim Lemke. Gomez Rock and St. Martin Keys have been the most popular areas. It is easier to see the scallops on the outgoing tide.
For more information, visit www.billmiller.com. To book a charter with captain Bill or his son captain Billy, call (813) 363-9927.