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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Weather can make the day in a big way

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

Those beautiful sunny days out on the water with light winds and blue skies might be nice for getting a tan and some fresh air, or for staying dry, but when it comes to fishing, I call those non-weather days.

I’d much rather have a fishing day with a little change in the weather.

A steady barometer is not the best for fishing, but when rain showers move in or tides change, these and other changes that occur can really spike the fishing action. Changes such as increased wind speed or direction will affect how the currents flow. Changes in the barometer affect how low or high the water gets to some degree, and it can affect how quickly tides rise or fall.

Fish also are affected by changes in barometric pressure, and a change in pressure can trigger fish to bite. One such day was on the books this week, when Cliff Davis and Jason Paiva of Tampa joined me for an afternoon of fishing.

I decided to roll the dice and fish the late-afternoon outgoing tide on the full moon. Normally, the temperature peaks between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. The tide had already started going out around 2 p.m. A total drop of nearly 3 feet in the water level was predicted. That’s huge for Tampa Bay.

Moving water is nearly always a good place to find the bite, but the changing conditions made it even better. Winds went from 10 mph from the south-southwest to 15 mph with gusts to 19 out of the southwest, followed by building cloud cover and scattered showers.

We only got a brush from the storms, but it was just enough to turn on the bite. The result was numerous snook, trout and a couple of slot redfish, completing inshore grand slams and giving Davis a personal-best snook of 32 inches and a 26-inch redfish.

It was a good tide, coupled with cooler, overcast skies, changing barometric pressure, and wind velocity and direction changes that turned on the bite.

I am convinced that weather makes the day.

Captain Ray Markham specializes in light tackle fishing with artificial lures and charters on lower Tampa Bay out of Terra Ceia. He can be reached via his website, www.CaptainRayMarkham.com; at [email protected]; or at (941) 723-2655.

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