By DOUG HEMMER
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 15, 2001
Fish are on the move in Tampa Bay
The inshore action in lower Tampa Bay has been steady. Most of the areas holding fish have good water movement and a strong supply of bait. Look for bends in the flats that have water rippling over the top. The ripple is the shallowest part of the flat and should be avoided.
Fish the areas that are up-current of the rip. Redfish, trout, mackerel and ladyfish have been working the rips that have schools of bait on the surface. Whitebait, shrimp or small pinfish under a cork will keep you in fish and out of the weeds. The rips are easier to see during the end of the outgoing tide and the first part of the incoming.
Chumming will increase the action when the fishing is slow. Grass flats in Tampa Bay that lie in 5 to 7 feet of water hold trout, mackerel, sharks and cobia. Try anchoring on the up-current side of the grass and put out a block of chum. Rigs should have small, long shank hooks on 2 feet of 30-pound leader. Place a cork 3 feet from the bait, then cast it and wait for the cork to go down. Give the chum time to lure the fish.
Tarpon fishing is red hot. Silver kings from Homosassa to Boca Grande are topping the scales at more than 200 pounds. This year's trips in the bay are yielding some of the biggest, meanest, smartest tarpon I have seen. They can be found after sunup rolling in the bay or along the beach. Threadfins and scaled sardines have produced the most fish. Free-lining pinfish in front of rolling tarpon is one trick I use when the fish won't bite the other baits.
Grouper fishing is good in 90 to 120 feet of water. Amberjacks are schooling over the wrecks west of Egmont Key in 100 feet of water.
As we move into summer, look for the action to be best where the water is coolest. Moving water, deep water and water covered by a bush or dock will be cooler.
- Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.
(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)
SATURDAY: 13th annual Old Salt Fishing Club Ladies Tournament, Billy's Stone Crab, Tierra Verde, 328-7699.
TODAY: Fly-tying, Bill Jackson's; 576-4169.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.
SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, 443-5000.
TODAY: Twilight race, St. Petersburg, 822-3873.
TODAY: Friday race, Clearwater, 447-6000.
TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840.
SATURDAY: Free kayak demo, Sweetwaters Kayaks, Tierra Verde, 906-0708.
SATURDAY: BoaterED safety program, St. Petersburg Junior College, Allstate Center, St. Petersburg, 341-4451.
SATURDAY: Safe-boating course, Clearwater, 441-8775.
SATURDAY: Boat smart course, Apollo Beach, (813) 645-5168.
SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003