GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Ray Markham.
Labor Day weekend on the Suncoast has traditionally been for picnics, family fun and tropical festivities. Boaters hit the water for fishing and island parties.
Quarter-moon tides this week have almost been a daily mirror of each other. The highs and lows have been nearly the same, making for consistent action. For some, that was good, but for others, it’s been work to get on a good bite. With a hurricane predicted to skirt the Eastern U.S. and more tropical activity coming, it’s a reminder to keep an eye on the weather. But changes in weather can also make for a good bite.
Trout fishing has been good on Tampa Bay. Action around Weedon Island, Sarasota Bay and along the South Shore of Tampa Bay from Ruskin to the Skyway has been steady, with trout being caught to 4 pounds. Anglers using live shrimp or jigs also report good action around the Fort De Soto area with some nice specks.
Popping corks are the standard for anglers drifting live shrimp over grass beds, but the same cork and shrimp rigs or rigs like the DOA Deadly Combo can also be used in conjunction with light-weight jigs with grub tails, jerk baits, and artificial shrimp with similar success. A popping sound is made on the surface by a twitch of the rod, making the cork or clacking rig create a disturbance that imitates a fish feeding on the surface. This draws the attention of schooling trout to the area, resulting in hook-ups.
Redfish action has been on the rise during the past week. Low tides will consolidate these and other fish in potholes and on channel edges, making them easy to target, but on the rising tides, schooling reds are feeding along the edges of mangrove islands and oyster bars. Captain Ryan Harrington of Tierra Verde has been on several schools of reds in the Fort De Soto area, wearing out his anglers catching big reds. This action will only improve in the next couple of months.
Captain Ray Markham specializes in light tackle fishing with artificial lures and charters on lower Tampa Bay out of Terra Ceia. He may be reached via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com, at email@example.com, or at (941) 723-2655 for charter.