Spring has kicked into high gear with March closing out with a final cooling spell and some windy days. However, the fishing was stellar with about 3 weeks now of consistent water temps. April-July spring and summer times bring some of the best fishing Tampa Bay has to offer.
Our inshore species are feeding heavy before the summer spawning months and with an excess of bait around this time of year, they are chewing for extended periods throughout the day. We have two important new moons, May 30th and June 28th when the snook, in particular, choose to spawn with the stronger tides present. Snook are all born males and some transition to females between one and seven years old or 12-35 inches. Therefore, many of the monster snook that are caught are most likely breeder females. Many of the migrating tarpon will also push offshore for their spawning rituals around the full moons, as well. Therefore, the last 2 weeks of both May and June will offer some great chances at hooking a hungry female fish.
These springtime months offer a huge array of species you can target no matter the time of day or tide. Bonito and big jack crevalle have made their way into the bay and along the coastline along with a large presence of Spanish mackerel and King mackerel. This last week or two, the kingfish bite has really taken off after the brief cooler days the first weekend of April. The big fish are moving closer and closer inshore as bait schools congregate so vastly they look like rain hitting the water when passing predators tear through them from below. Cobia are still very present and active in the bay cruising around the buoys and showing up to chum blocks while fishing near shore. The big fish are here because the pilchards are palm sized, big threadfin are covering the bridges, cigar minnows and blue runners are circling the near shore structures, and pinfish and ladyfish are all over the flats and beaches. All of these factors also give way to the most sought after fish people wait all year for, the tarpon. There have been a few reports recently of boats starting to hook into these fun fighters, as the conditions are right for their annual migration north, up Florida’s coast. Pass crabs have been flushing more and more with these last two full moons, which is a staple for migratingTarpon.
This year’s spring King of the Beach is sure to be a good one, with big kingfish being caught day after day, and their numbers sky rocketing as boats don’t have to travel far at all to get shots at them. March is historically a windy month and this year was no exception, but aside from April afternoon showers it is shaping up to begreat weather for the big weekend!