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Black drum schools starting to arrive

Published: March 23, 2014
Bill Miller

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

Spawning schools of big black drum have showed up off Pinellas Point. Black drum schools look like big, dark copper spots in the water. These drum will go up to 50 pounds apiece and will eat crabs, shrimp or jigs slow bounced on the bottom.

Bridges like the Howard Frankland, Gandy and Courtney Campbell Causeway have been good spots for night-time early-season tarpon. Tarpon cruise the dark side of the shadow line waiting to ambush bait as it is swept under the bridge. Jumbo shrimp, greenbacks and dark flies are the top baits.

Good kingfish reports keep coming in from the Clearwater area. Artificial reefs in 40-50 feet have been the best spot for king fishermen trolling Nos. 1 and 2 spoons.

Bridges, seawalls and docks near the Gulf are loaded with sheepshead. Use a small piece of shrimp on a knocker rig and cast near the structure. The sheepshead’s bite is subtle, so use braided line for maximum sensitivity and set the hook quickly.

I was fishing the Redington Pier this week and witnessed good Spanish mackerel and pompano catches. Large Sabiki rigs with size 14 hooks bounced along the bottom with some speed were catching both species.

No kingfish were caught while I was there, but bait was present and the water temperature is right, so it won’t be long before some big kings will be coming over the rails.

Catch “Fishing with Bill Miller” on World Fishing Network starting April 6. For charter information, call captain Billy Miller at (813) 363-9927.