Daily fishing report

By Doug Hemmer
Published April 4, 2006

Fishing on the lower west side of Tampa Bay was difficult last week. Low water temperatures pushed the large sardines off the flats. Most of the bait left on the shallowest part of the flats were too small. It's not that you can't catch fish on the smaller baits, but you will find them hard to cast and the larger snook want the big sardines.

We spent most of our trips sight casting to redfish and snook. The small baits forced us too close to the fish before casting. Most of the casts were short of the fish and before you could reel in to cast again, the fish would spook.

The best action was in areas where we have seen fish in the past. We drifted close to the spot, quietly dropped anchor and threw out a good supply of live chum. This was a lot of work, but it sometimes paid off. We caught mostly small snook and redfish. There were larger snook in the hole, but they turned down our small baits. The redfish wanted white bait, pinfish and a whole lot of quiet. Every passing boat would send the school looking for a new area. It's hard to get fish to feed when they're moving quickly.

I'm going to spend my free time looking for large scaled sardines. It will take a lot of chumming and more than a few throws of the net, but if you want to catch the bigger fish it's time well spent.

--Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.