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The Redfish bite on lower Tampa Bay is very perplexing to say the least. The last several weeks Captain Steven has been red hot, ok and slow. It’s no secret we have several schools of large 30” plus redfish in lower Tampa Bay. You will also find several local Captains lined up all working the same schools with the same mixed results.

The key to having a big day is having a live well full of scaled sardines. The perfect baits are 3-4” long, with the huge 6” baits perfect for cutting into chunks. Both work equally and are killer on redfish. The time spent gathering bait is well worth the effort. Fill the live well as heavy chumming may be necessary to keep the reds fired up.

Mangrove islands combined with oyster bars is where you will locate redfish. Either incoming or outgoing tides works as long as you have moving water, it’s not rocket science so keep it simple and focus on these few tips. Redfish can be fickle even in perfect conditions like last Thursday. We had 80-100 jumbo reds cruising back and forth thru over baits with hardly a nod. The bite was good for 5 minutes then died!

This same school under similar tides kept my anglers rods bent until my fisherman needed rest just days prior. At the end of the day that’s fishing. A 1/0 hook on 3-4’ 25 pound fluorocarbon leader either fly lined or under a cork is the basic rigging. It’s that simple.

Winter has finally ended so remember to load up with sun screen before leaving the dock and avoid burning. Hat, buff, long sleeves shirts and a good pair of sun glasses ensure a comfortable day on the water.

Captain Steven Markovich

Tampa Bay Fishing Charters | On The Mark Charters

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