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Tampa Bay - Saltwater

Capt. Matt Ercoli
March 1, 2002
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report

Sorry for the delay in my fishing report. I haven?t had much news to report, so that leaves me waiting for things to change weather wise. We just can?t seem to get rid of these cold fronts. It?s not like we are in a deep freeze or anything, we just can?t seem to get enough sun long enough to warm up the flats. All it will take is a few warm days of sun and we should have fishing that rivals the first half of the month. Despite the inconsistent weather we are still having decent days on the mixed bag of fish. The big surprise is the trout fishing. I have to say that trout fishing is as good as it has ever been. It?s not just the numbers of fish, it?s the average size of the fish. We have been catching trout everyday in the 23 to 26 inch class. Every day but one over the last five days we have boated a trout over 26 inches. That?s a real trophy. One day last week after a slow day on snook we made a quick stop at one of my trophy trout holes and caught 10 fish in less than an hour. The smallest trout was 221/2 inches, 3 where 24 or better and one broke the 26 inch mark. Trout fishing truly doesn?t get much better than that. The day before yesterday repeated the scenario in the same spot. That doesn?t include all the keeper size trout we have been catching in the 17 to 20 inch range. An angler will have no problem bringing some fillets home right now. Along with trout we have been catching some sheepshead, a few black drum and some snook.

For the fly anglers the trout are hitting quite readily and the bay is slap full of good size ladyfish to tug a line. There are a few blue fish crashing the beaches too.

Well we have another cold front moving in as I write this. It looks like our snook fishing will be delayed for a few more days. They were just starting to creep back out on the flats yesterday in some real numbers. Even with morning water temps around 65 they would really like to get out on those shallow flats to feed. There is call for it to warm up in a couple of days and it won?t take long to have some great snook fishing. Really, until then I am not complaining. The afternoon temperatures have left us in tee shirts and shorts, and the trout bite couldn?t be any better. Everyone has really been enjoying them selves.

If anyone is interested in getting out in the near future I have a cancellation for the 5th and 6th of March. If you are planning a tarpon trip this summer you had better get on the stick, I?m running out of dates and currently filling April in. It?s one of our best months of the year for snook fishing as well as giant cobia on the flats. We can also have some good redfishing. April is also one of our most consistent times for permit.

As for the fly fisherman April is my number one month to stalk and site cast to snook in water so shallow you must get out and wade. It can also be a great time on the near-shore reefs for little tunny, kingfish, Spanish, and yes sometimes permit. Also if you are interested in a giant cobia on the fly it is the best month, the fish are in very shallow water, which makes for excellent site fishing opportunities.

Hope you have enjoyed my fishing report. Good luck fishing!

Capt. Matt Ercoli

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Offering half to full day flats fishing charters aboard his custom 24' Sheaffer flats/tower boat. Fishing the backwater flats from Tampa to Sarasota Bays, Capt. Matt Ercoli has the knowledge and personality to ensure that you have a great fishing experience. Providing both inshore flats fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish, trout and offshore fishing for permit, kingfish, bonita, grouper or shark. Capt. Matt accommodates both lite tackle and fly fishermen.

Contact Info:

Fly the Flats Fishing Charters
Phone: 800-521-2872
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