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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Sheepshead prevalent in lower Tampa Bay

GO FISHING is a look at the area scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Frank Sargeant.

Captain Scott Moore reports his area — lower Tampa Bay through Sarasota Bay — is eaten up with sheepshead these days.

“We caught 60 on shrimp Tuesday,” Moore said. “They’re massing up on the rock piles to spawn.”

Moore also said he and son Justin are catching lots of pompano, most on Lil’ John jigs, with the jig tail cut off about an inch to make the bait a smaller target. He said the pompano are around the passes, near Egmont Key and over the deeper grass flats of Sarasota Bay; www.moorefishing.com.

Captain Ray Markham reports great near-shore action throughout the Bay area.

“There are lots of big Spanish just off the beaches and around the passes, with some 5- to 6-pound bluefish mixed in, plus monster jack crevalle to 15 pounds. Tripletail are on the crab pot buoys, and anglers using live shrimp or DOA shrimp have been getting them.”

Visit Markham’s website at www.captainraymarkham.com.

To the north, captain William Toney reports good action on the rocks and outside points around Homosassa for some of the best trout fishing of the year. Toney has been catching most of his big trout on the CAL 5.5 Jerk bait nose-hooked with a live bait hook. He can be reached through his website at www.homosassainshorefishing.com.

In fresh water, captain Mike Shellen reports the bite is on for Okeechobee bass, with his anglers catching 25 to 40 fish per day on wild shiners fished against the grass lines and in the pockets. He said his anglers had several over 8 pounds this week. The North Shore, Eagle Bay and the east side around J&S canal are hot spots for artificial anglers using swim jigs, top water or Senkos.

Shellen also said speck fishing is as good as it gets on live minnows and tiny jigs around the bulrushes and weed lines at Buckhead Ridge, Indiana Prairie and Horse Island; www.okeechobeebassfishing.com.

The west coast snook season opens Saturday and runs through April — visit www.myfwc.com for detailed regulations.

The Tampa Bay Outdoors Expo and Boat Show is at the State Fairgrounds starting today, with Free Friday hours 1 to 8 p.m. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 to 5 Sunday, admission $8, parking $6; www.tampaoutdoorexpo.com.

Tribune correspondent Frank Sargeant can be reached at [email protected]

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