Snook and Redfish
Capt. Stewart Ames
July 19, 2019
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Redfish, snook and trout…all closed to harvest thru May, 2020. Great! A full year for fish to grow in a protected environment. Inshore fishing is a lot more about the sport and less about the harvest anyway, so business remains largely unaffected. With red snapper season open and tarpon season in full swing in June, pressure on redfish was relatively light in northern Pinellas County. As a result, fishing was pretty strong through the month of June. Early July has seen a little bit of a slowdown but plenty of quality fish are still available. The very warm water may have backed fish off a bit. The best opportunity by far has been fishing mangrove shorelines…pitching both live and cut baits into caves and indentations in the shrubbery. Continued movement has been required to locate fish as they seem to be in small, concentrated areas. Several local flats have also produced but generally on the higher phases of the tide and in the deeper holes or troughs. Redfish, due to their heat tolerance, will continue to be a species to target through the hottest months although fishing may slow a bit thru August.
Snook fishing remained solid up until this week. The slowdown is most likely attributable to two factors. First, the spawn is starting to wind down and will be largely done by the end of this month. So the large concentrations of fish that have been available in predictable beach locations will thin out significantly. Several large "spawned out" (skinny) females have been caught in the last week. Second, local waters glassed out this last week, making the fish a bit more wary. It never hurts to have a little wind blowing for cover when fishing snook. Another interesting fact is that, in the last few days, while patiently fishing areas populated with fish, the bite has been slow. Yet, on three separate occasions, large fish came right to the boat chasing large trout and hooked redfish. These same fish had already been presented "standard" snook baits for 15-20 minutes but refused to bite. It appears that these bigger fish, who've likely been caught a time or two, are starting to smarten up and are avoiding some of the more traditional baits…might be a good time to try less commonly used live baits such as shad, mud minnows or ladyfish. Some decent trout are still being found mixed in with the snook.
So, with August around the corner, the best approach for catching many species will be to fish early and late. August fish will be much more likely to eat when fishing pressure is light and the mid day heat is turned down. Good luck and good fishing.
Snook, redfish, sea trout
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