1: at Big Pier 60 in Clearwater, the water has been choppy since the storm and the fishing is a little slow. A few Spanish mackerel, whiting and black bass have been caught. Sheepshead are biting the balls for regular anglers, and this week’s cold front should activate that bite, reports Big Pier 60 Bait & Tackle (727-462-6466).
Sheepshead: Good numbers of sheep are starting to bite in the Tampa Bay area and elsewhere. This week’s cold front will only enhance that bite.
2: On the beach of Madeira, Spanish mackerel is “thick” on beaches and reefs near the coast. Occasionally, there is also the mix. The nearshore hogfish bite is still good in 30 to 70 feet. Lots of mangrove and lane snappers are also biting. Anglers should note, however, that the lane snapper season is closed until the end of the year. The grouper bite is good and more groupers are moving shallower. Further offshore, there are good numbers of mangrove snapper and yellowtail. For pelagic anglers, there are plenty of blackfin tuna, reports Capt. Dylan Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina (727-393-1947).
3: In the footsteps of John, good numbers of sheep are moving in the neck and biting on the bridge, docks, jetty and most of the structure. Most of the snoring has gone into the hindquarters, but there is still some stinging in the neck, especially at night. Flounder and black drum are biting at the jetty. Spanish mackerel, along with plenty of whiting and chip trout are biting on the beach from the jetty, Hubbard reports.
4: In Fort De Soto Park, Sheep bite the marina, levees and bridge. His numbers should only improve with this week’s cold front. The grass in the area is producing good sized speckled trout along with slot size and redfish. Good sized snook are biting around the boat ramp area inside the park. Pompano are biting jigs and shrimp at Bunces Pass Bridge inside the park. There is plenty of bait on the dock and the mackerel are still running. There are good numbers of sheepshead in the piles and shrimp biting, along with crabs. Atlantic tip sharks also bite. Bunches Pass beach side is producing pompano and jack crevalle, reports Capt. Claude Hinson of Tierra Verde Bait and Tackle (727-864-2108).
5: Around the Sunshine Skyway and lower Tampa Bay, the sheepshead bite is really starting to pick up and they are congregating around the inshore and nearshore reefs. There are also better numbers for the Skyway structure and the area’s bridges. Spanish mackerel are in the bay in addition to the beaches and there is also a sporadic mix of walleye, reports Capt. Shawn Crawford of Florida Sport Fishing Outfitters (941-705-3160. Many keeper are being caught good size and larger trout). in lower Tampa Bay. Water between 4 and 7 feet deep has been the most productive for trout. Spanish mackerel are thick and pretty much all over the bay, even on the grass flats. Mangrove snapper fishing has increased around the Skyway bridge. The nearshore bite has been good with a mixed bag of hogfish, cobia, mackerel, the occasional kingfish and tripletail at the buoys, reports Capt. John Gunter of Palmetto (863-838-5096).
6: To Anna Maria, Palma Sola Bay has some roach, redfish and spotted from the mouth of the bay, to the bottom of the bay. There is also a decent trout bite in the sound between Cortez and Longboat Key. The bridges and structure in the area are starting to produce good numbers of sheepshead, along with some of the docks in the sound. Spanish mackerel and a few bluefish are also biting in the sound, south of Sarasota Bay, Crawford reports.
7: In Saint Petersburg, Sheep chew through bridges and most of the structure. They are also biting along the docks and dikes of the residential canals. The inshore bite is good around Bayboro, Coquina Key and Coffeepot Bayou. Spanish mackerel are still biting in the bay around the buoys and marks. The buoys around Bayboro have been especially holding good numbers of mackerel. Mackerel are also doing well around the Skyway and better numbers are showing up again on the beaches now after the storm. The grouper and mangrove snapper bite is also picking up on the reefs in the bay and along the channel, reports Larry Mastry at Mastry’s Tackle (727-896-8889).
8: At the northern end of Tampa Bay, sheep bite under bridges and on structure in the area. A few snook and flatfish have been caught in the shallower approach areas of the Gandy Bridge. Weedon Island is producing good numbers of redfish, snook and sheepshead. Coffeepot Bayou is “loaded with sheep’s heads.” To the east, the Picnic Island flats are producing good numbers of speckled trout, a few redfish and ruffs. Oyster bars in the upper bay pushing up to Rocky Point are producing redfish and some black drum. Decent numbers of trout and some beachies are biting on the flats with a mix of grass and sand in the upper bay, reports Gandy Bait & Tackle (813-839-5551).
9: Inshore at Fort Pierce, there are some mahi in the weed lines from 80 to 200 feet. Kings are biting in the top 50 to 80 feet, along with mangrove and mutton snapper on the bottom at that depth. In the inlet, there are whiting and some pompano in the surf, but the pompano bite is better up north. The snook bite is good at night from the jetty on Flairhawk jigs and Hogy swimbaits. Trolling Rapala Shad Rap plugs along the inland bridges is also producing snook. Snook also continues to bite the Juanita Spillway. Better numbers of sheepshead and black drum are biting in the inlet and around the bridges. Snapper and sand perch are biting at the Melody Lane Pier, reports Clint Walker at the Fishing Center of St. Lucie (772-465-7637).