As I take reservations for March and April, the number one question I’m asked is, what about the red tide? Last year’s red tide finally dissipated during the fall, so the white sandy beaches are back to normal and clear of dead fish. However, the inshore fishing along the coast is far from being normal.
All month the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been releasing thousands of redfish in every coastal county from northern Pasco to Collier down south, in an attempt to replenish the stocks that were decimated during 2018’s red tide outbreak. Each release included 1,000 to 1,500 juvenile fish and 25 to 30 adult redfish in every county. That equals to about 8,200 to 14,400 redfish throughout. That being said, “don’t look for a positive impact for years to come.”
The coastal communities are still reeling (no pun intended) from the devastating loss of marine life. Guides and recreational anglers alike, are struggling to catch fish. A repeat client who fished with me again this month, fished with guide out of Matlacha in Lee County the day before and they only caught one trout in four hours. The next day with me, the action was non-stop in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay is the key. The red tide outbreak never effected the inshore waters of Tampa Bay from about the Skyway Bridge north. I’ve been catching adult, slot-sized redfish all winter long. The inshore fishing will take years to recover along the coast. The only glimmer of hope of a normal coastal fishery this year, is the kingfish migration and the tarpon run. I’ve got my fingers crossed!
Now back to the bay fishing! Again, the fishing in Tampa Bay is outstanding, so if you’re thinking of staying at any of the hotels on Clearwater or St. Petersburg beach, it would be well worth the short drive to fish with me in Tampa.
Here’s what’s biting at the present:
The snook and redfish are very cooperative on some of the grass flats, while trout, sheepshead, pompano, jacks and ladyfish are keeping anglers busy in deeper water.
Considering we didn’t really have an extremely cold winter, I’m sure what fish survived the red tide along the coast will make it through the year and hopefully satisfy the endeavors of all in pursuit.
Usually, I get too busy to write fishing reports as often as I’d like, so, if you’re interested in seeing my most recent post, please like my, Facebook Page to receive updates. For charter reservations call/text Wade at 813-286-3474.