GO FISHING is a daily look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Fred Everson.
Light winds let me get out a couple of days last week, and the fishing was OK on Wednesday. I bottom-fished with captain Rick Bollinger and it was slow, but we caught a few grunts, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel and a nice flounder. We caught the flounder on a chub, and if you haven't tried chubs for flat fish, you are missing the boat.
Chubs are the best flounder bait out there, and they are available at better bait shops. You can also catch them in cast nets over sandy bottom in very shallow water around creek mouths.
Larry Malinoski e-mailed me with a great grouper report on the same day. He said he put 20 fish in the boat trolling around the mouth of the bay. He sent me a picture of four keeper gags.
I went fly fishing for mackerel on Friday and put six fish on ice using a small glass minnow imitation. The fish were on the surface in the shipping lanes just south of Bahia Beach, but they were feeding on small baits - glass minnows and tiny sardines. Here, nothing beats a small fly tied on a 50-pound monofilament leader.
I started out throwing the fly on my 10-weight, but it was too much rod for the 2-pound macks. I made the switch to a 7-weight rod and had a lot more fun with these feisty fish. I also checked a lot of buoys and range markers looking for a cobia, but never found one.
Captain Billy Jordan showed up at my dock on the Little Manatee River late in the afternoon with 14 macks in the box. He and Roger Mills did all the damage around the ship channel with spoons. This has been the best mackerel bite of the year.
I found plenty of threadfins between Simmons Park and the Alafia River. I threw the net three or four times and filled 30 sandwich bags with bait for future use. Frozen threadfins will catch most anything in Tampa Bay, but they don't hold up on the hook very well. It's important to keep the bait you aren't fishing with on ice. Once it thaws, it turns to mush.