Sunday, March 1, 2009

Saltwater Fishing Tampa Bay

So the family decided to come down this weekend, and my uncle and my cousin just happened to bring down a pontoon boat so that we could do some saltwater fishing in Tampa Bay. It has been awhile since I have casted away on the flats of Tampa Bay but it only took more than half of a day until we started to get the fish biting and in the boat.

We were staying at a hotel on Saint Petersburg beach, and we rallied the troops and were heading to the Fort Desoto boating ramp. The cool thing about the boating ramp in Fort Desoto is that you could probably put 40 boats in the water at once, the place is huge and the trailer parking is fairly cheap.

So we pulled up to the ramp, it was me, my uncle, and my 2 cousins along with their kids, so we had 6 total, made sure that we had plenty of saltwater fishing rods, and a cooler full of beer, along with 4 tackle boxes filled to the brim with fishing tackle. We has stopped at the bait bucket bait and tackle shop before we got to the ramp, which I should have stated and we bought 10 dozen shrimp. So without further ado we got the used pontoon boat in the water and was ready for a great day saltwater fishing Tampa Bay.

We got the boat in the water and the truck and trailer parked, and started to head out to the flats to do some flats fishing. The first thing that we wanted to do was to try and get some more bait, so I stood on the bow of the pontoon boat with my cast net in hand looking for some bait. I got a few hundred greenbacks with a couple of casts and then missed a couple of nice sheepshead which would have been nice to land.

We started out fishing the flats of Tampa Bay, and early in the morning we did not have that much luck as I think it was due to the tide being low. So after about 2 hours of flats fishing we were only able to pull in one decent size trout and a couple of pinfish, which we stuck in the pontoon boats live well to use as some bait for the skyway bridge.

So after 2 hours of flats fishing failure we decided that we will try and fish under the skyway bridge, which can be very productive some days. The bad thing is that this would not be the day to catch anything at the bridge, as the water was very rough and it was also hard to hold the anchor. We did however run into a school of mackerel, you can see the birds that were having fun with them.

We winded up catching about 15 mackerel using top water jigs, the only problem is that they were all to small, maybe the big ones don’t come out until the water warms in Tampa Bay I am not certain. So again our day of saltwater fishing Tampa Bay was not going real well, but we had plenty of time, and plenty of bait to use up before we had to head in.

So we made our way back over towards the Bradenton side and we fished a couple of docks and a canal, in hope of getting some snook or some redfish. Sad to say that the only thing that we were catching was a nice buzz from all of the beers being consumed, but we kept hitting up different spots. The tide was starting to come in and then we decided that we would just drift the flats and try and get some trout, there was four of us with lines in the water so we could cover a lot of ground this way and we would be sure to catch some.

I had been using a popper and live shrimp, my cousin had switched to the jig and good thing that he did, as he landed another trout. After I seen him catch a couple off that jig I switched up to it too, and on the tip of the jig used a big gulp artificial bait, which I now believe will out fish live bait in some situations.

Before you know it we were reeling in speckled trout left and right, it got to the point we were hooking up almost every cast. These were not small trout at all either, well the majority of them were not anyway. So finally after 2 hours of flats fishing Tampa Bay we got our bucket full of trout and we had reached our daily bag limit.

We could have continued to catch fish but the women kept calling wondering when we would be coming back, so we decided to pack it up and head back to the ramps. As the Fort Desoto boat ramp is not the place to pull in if you are over your bag limit or have fish that are under their size limit, you will get caught.

We put the pontoon boat on the trailer and called it a day, headed back to the hotel and wondered where we were going to clean all of the trout. Well why not just be a little redneck and clean them in the parking lot of the hotel, all in all I would say that it was an excellent day flats fishing Tampa Bay.

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