Summer storms are upon us, temperatures are rising, and night time fishing is hot. Tampa residents are in for a treat. Night fishing has its rewards with cool breezes clear nights and tight lines. Summer brings an influx of game fish into upper Tampa Bay a short drive for Tampa residents. Tarpon, snook, trout, red drum “redfish” and black drum just to name a few. Shore anglers can fish from under Gandy Bridge sea wall and Picnic Island Pier. Boat anglers can target Howard Franklin, Gandy Bridge and Courtney Campbell Causeway Bridge.
May, June and July are prime months for catching large redfish (sciaenops ocellatus). A
close relative of black drum, this hard-fighting gamester has the pulling power of a small
freight train on the loose. Redfish can range from 1 pound to a world record of 94
pounds. This time of year, large red drum and black drum ranging is size fro 10 to 25
pounds can be caught using their favorite meal blue crabs.
Medium tackle is recommended, I use my standard grouper rig of a 7-foot Okuma
medium action rod, Okuma Komodo SS 463 reel and 50-pound Fins braided line with
double swivel 2 oz. sinker with 4 foot of 60 pound test momo leader tied to a 3/0 hook.
Large redfish hang out around most bridge pilings; I find those that are closer to shore to be the most productive. Call any of the local bait shops a few days ahead and reserve a dozen medium blue crabs. A crab can be cut in half and used as two baits. Remove the
top cap, cut the legs off, and insert the hook through one leg socket and out the other.
Bridge anglers can drop their line straight down alongside the piling and hang on.
Boaters have a more difficult task. You need to anchor under the bridge with the stern of the boat within 4 to 5 feet from the outmost piling.
Boaters should be prepared for a quick release of their anchor when a large fish is hooked. A common tool used is a fender or float tied above the water line to the anchor line. When a large fish is hooked the anchor, line is released. The current will drift the boat away from the bridge allowing the angler to fight his catch. When finished return to the fender or float and retie. Night time fishing has many rewards don’t be surprise if you hook on to a large tarpon or a black drum while fishing for redfish around the bridges. The slot size for redfish is 18 to 27 inches and only one per angler per day so please obey the rules.
At its May meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) extended several fisheries management conservation measures for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout in areas of southwest Florida impacted by a prolonged red tide that occurred from November 2017 through mid-February 2019.
The extension for red drum, snook and spotted seatrout will go into effect May 11 and will apply from the Pasco-Hernando county line south (including all waters of Tampa Bay) through Gordon Pass in Collier County. Previously approved catch-and-release measures, including no harvest of spotted seatrout over 20 inches, remain in effect through May 10.
Changes effective May 11:
Snook and red drum will remain catch-and-release only for an additional year through May 31, 2020.
Spotted seatrout will be catch-and-release only, including no commercial harvest through May 31, 2020.
Check FWC site for updated information on regulations.
Boat ramp for boaters-Salty Sol on Gandy Blvd. one mile west of West Shore Blvd.
Bait shops-Gandy Bait & Tackle and Trapmans Bait & Tackle located on Gandy Blvd.
1. J. Richards another big black drum from under Gandy Bridge
2 . Medium blue crab cut in half.
Good fishing and tight lines.
Capt. Sergio Atanes is host of Florida West Coast Fishing Report on Facebook and
YouTube. He is also host to Aventuras De Pesca USA on national TV and Radio. Capt.
Sergio Atanes can be reached at (813) 973-7132 or www.reelfishy.com