It’s about this time each year the emails and phone calls to On The Mark Charters spike. The questions all have one common theme, what’s biting as we transition into spring. Simple question with a long answer as things really change in a short period of time.
March daytime highs average 76 with April averaging 80 degrees combine that with one or two more minutes of sunlight per day. A far cry form Februarys 70 average which has been more like 60 to start 2010. The water temperature reacts quickly on Tampa Bays flats and inshore waters. In turn everything comes alive!
Snook which are sluggish in cold water become very aggressive as they move out from their winter haunts. Mangrove shorelines throughout most of Tampa Bay will hold this majesty warrior.
With spring comes a higher tide which floods the flats and oysters bar making the redfish turn-on. These bronze bombers will be schooling making sight casting possible. Schools of redfish can be easy to spot bad news many anglers find and work the same schools. Regardless if you are tossing artificials, soaking dead baits or chumming with live white baits stealth is key. Don’t chase the fish, make long casts and be patient.
Spotted sea trout will readily be available and often caught when targeting redfish on the grass flats. Lush turtle grass is home for these feisty targets, early morning in shallow water 1-3′ is where you will find large trout 25″+. Top water plugs are my personal choice of lures for gator trout. Smaller trout often in larger schools will hold in deeper holes 3-6′. Drift the flats bouncing soft plastic jigs along the bottom, when you hook up repeat the drift or lower the Power Pole and work the area thought as often when you find one there are plenty more nearby.
Often overlooked is the invasion of Spanish mackerel. These sleek missiles hit lures or baits with a vengeance and are great fighters on light tackle. At times Tampa Bay is loaded with school after school of mackerel chasing baits from 5 miles offshore to the upper reaches of Tampa Bay. My number tactic is simple 3′ feet of 40 pound leader attached to a Silver Clarke spoon.
Toss in King Mackerel and then the Tarpon season in May and its all good. Did I even mention night snook action begins?