GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides.
Fishing early in the morning or in late afternoon to early evening is by far the best bet for steady action. The bay is still alive with mangrove snapper along the shipping channel edges, bridges and markers. Small live white baits on small hooks knocker-rigged worked well all week. We caught our limit on every trip with relative ease.
Deep-water flats were key to the trout bite, which remains surprisingly good for this time of year. Plenty of fish are in the 15- to 20-inch range, with a few over 20 mixed in. Live white baits floated under popping corks worked really well, as did the Strike King KVD Swimmin Caffine Shad in white, rigged on a quarter-ounce Strike King jig head in chartreuse. Work your plastics slowly, or rig them under a popping cork for some crazy strikes.
A few schools of big redfish showed up this week, with mixed results. We caught a couple of 30-inch fish on cut ladyfish soaked in pot holes with a 3/0 circle hook. These fish will feed better in the coming weeks, as most of them just showed up on the last moon.
Offshore, the gag grouper bite is still going strong even as water temparatures rise. Normally, this is not the best time of year for gags, as they usually push well offshore. Slow trolling areas of hard bottom seems to be doing the trick. MirrOlure's 25+ series lipped diving plugs will get you hooked up. Be sure your plugs are getting down close to the bottom to ensure hook-ups.
Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the "Reel Animals Fishing Show" on Saturdays from 6:30-7 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-9 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit www.reelanimalsfishingshow.com.