GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Ray Markham.
The storms this past week continually moved the needle on the barometer. As a rule, changing barometric pressure tends to make fish feed more actively. Tide changes can also influence water temperature and current flow, as can wind velocity and direction. Around the full moon, midday fishing can be a lot like work. Anglers aboard my boat caught fish, but the action slowed as the days wore on and temperatures rose. Some fish, like snook, are nocturnal feeders and prefer to feed at night, but they will eat during the day if given the opportunity.
Numerous snook were caught, but the majority were under the slot. It didn’t matter that the season is closed, since all snook were released anyway. But catching small snook was a matter of where we fished. With one exception, the areas I targeted were not spawning areas, and the large snook we caught were on the fringe of areas near Port Manatee that are known as big snook areas. Extra special care in reduced handling and use of release tools makes for successful catch-and-release of any fish. Larger snook that are normally females were left in the water while a de-hooking device was used to remove hooks. Since I use artificial lures, it’s rare that any fish is ever gut-hooked.
Trout from the Skyway to Manatee River were mostly small. Shallow areas will hold these smaller fish. Deep grass to 10 feet off Pinellas Point was holding some upper-slot speckled trout. We caught numerous fish on CAL Shads and MirrOlure Lil’ Johns and MirrOdines. Mix in a few flounder, some Spanish mackerel and black seabass and we had the makings of a fish fry.
For the weekend, stay flexible with your fishing plan. Fish deeper areas as temperatures rise, and work the shallows early and late in the day. Fish the bait schools for mackerel, cobia, trout and others. Be sure you are where you want to fish during major and minor solunar periods and when tides change and you can make the most of the barometric changes.
Captain Ray Markham specializes in light tackle fishing with artificial lures and charters on lower Tampa Bay out of Terra Ceia. Contact him at www.captainraymarkham.com or (941) 228-3474.