GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Ray Markham.
Spring temperatures are soaring but anglers aboard my Action Craft flats skiff have been catching good numbers of snook using a combination of lures.
Topwater MirrOlure Top Dogs and suspending MirrOdines, CAL Jigs with Shad tails and DOA Airheads have fooled the bulk of the snook near Bishop’s Harbor, where we’ve been catching them on rising water. Snook are averaging 26 inches, with the top fish exceeding 40 inches. Incoming morning tides have produced good action for chunky redfish to 29 inches in Terra Ceia Bay on Eppinger Rex Spoons and CAL Shads.
Flounder fishing has been hit and miss, but we’re still catching some nice flatties to 18 inches on CAL Shads and Curly tail jigs rigged on quarter-ounce CAL jigheads in sandy areas near passes with good water movement in lower Tampa Bay.
Cobia are increasing in numbers on the flats. One fish we spotted on the Bulkhead near the mouth of the Manatee River and the Intracoastal Waterway was probably in the 70- to 80-pound class. Tarpon are beginning to show in better numbers in this same area, near Bean Point and around the Sunshine Skyway.
Trout have been piling up into holes on deep flats during negative low tide periods surrounding this week’s full moon. Throwing DOA Tandem Jigs, it has been possible to catch two trout at a time. Average fish are about 16 inches, with several in the 20-inch range on each trip. Productive areas have been on the Key Royale flats, Anna Maria Sound and Terra Ceia and Palma Sola bays.
Our largest trout have been caught on big jerk baits. The CAL 5.5 rigged with a live bait hook in the nose of the bait, and the MirrOlure Lil’ John XL rigged on an eighth-ounce jig head have accounted for the big trout. Twitching the lures along the bottom has been the ticket.
Captain Ray Markham specializes in fishing with artificial lures and can be reached for charter through his Web site at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, via email at [email protected], or at (941) 723-2655.