I recently had a couple visiting from Ohio out to enjoy the sights on Tampa Bay. We left the Little Manatee River and rode to the Bahia Beach Reef.
They asked why all the boats were there – I showed them both my side-sonar pictures and bottom sonar of all the rubble in that area. That rubble creates an ecosystem for fish to live. We use our equipment to locate those areas and act like the predators we are.
I then chose to show them a sunken barge nearby. On the side-sonar it looks like… well, a sunken barge. The picture from the unit is very detailed. One boat was fishing there at the time. I asked for his permission to cruise around slowly and view more of the wreck. They were catching fish while we were there. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Later that morning we were drifting around the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, taking pictures of commercial ships and talking fishing. Although my riders didn’t fish, they were interested and asked questions. I used two more pieces of modern technology to answer their questions. You should really have both to improve your fishing experience.
Fishrulesapp.com is an application for your cell phone or computer. Asked about sheepshead, I used it to show these people the picture of the fish and current harvest regulations. Unlike sheepshead caught on their native Lake Erie, our sheepshead are good to eat, which surprised them.
As for the tide and weather, I showed them fishweather.com. It’s another phone application you can also use on your computer. It covers tides, wind, marine weather and more from all over the world. Designed for the professional, it works easy enough for me. Both applications are free and accessed from any computer or smartphone. They’re very helpful and might make the ordinary fisherman extraordinary.
The Cockroach Bay boat ramp is finished and quite nice. Sometimes there are issues with parking and theft. If you use the area, lock your tow vehicles and trailers to avoid inviting trouble.
I learned that some call those giant snook that are way above slot size, “lunker dogs.” Many of them are being caught right now.
Todd Foucher of Lakeland showed off a 35-inch lunker dog on theonlinefisherman.com recently. Many more are being caught and released all along our South Shore waters. This is a good time to catch that “bucket list” snook and maybe a slot one for the grill. With the fishrules application, following the rules for slot sizes and pictures is easily done.
Technology today has changed fishing for the better. Make use of it and get out there so you can…
Catch ‘em up.
Larry Malinoski, aka the FishHawk, is one of three Ruskin-based fishing guides and charter captains who share this column. He can be reached at (813) 469-7251 or firstname.lastname@example.org.