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Mangroveman

Tampa Bay Fishing Report March 28-April 3

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In Tampa Bay the water temperature is right and the fish are feeding strong. This past week we have been fishing in the Fort Desoto area catching trout and redfish as our target species with flounder and some small snook as great bi-catch.

The Seatrout have been feeding ferociously. We have been using DOA shadtails in golden bream and greenback color or GULP 3 inch new penny shrimp rigged on 1/8 ounce mission fishin jigheads. The trout have been staging on the deeper grass edges in 2 to 5 feet of water and have been averaging 15 to 17 inches with a few going well over 20 inches. This pattern has been producing catches of 20 to 30 fish per day.

Redfish have been our second target species this week. I have been searching for redfish on the higher tides around oyster bars and undercut mangrove shorelines. As the tide moves in, the mullet and redfish move up and feed along the edges and on top of the oyster bars. A live shrimp, GULP new penny shrimp or plug of cut pinfish has been working very well. Another hot bait has been the Zara Spook, with topwater catches happening thoughout the day. I like using the gold with black back and the bone color. Both of these have proven to be consistent producers. When looking for redfish, I always first find mullet, and then slow down and work the area looking for gamefish.

Lastly, the flounder and small snook have added to our catch this week. The snook I have been finding are moving out of their winter haunts and are on the outside flats. We have been catching them on our topwater Spooks and also on our DOA shadtails while fishing for trout and redfish.

For the flounder, we are fishing sand potholes on the grassflats where there is moving water. On the incoming or falling tide, the flounder will stage in these potholes and wait for baitfish and crustaceans to carried by the tide to them. We have been averaging about 10 flounder per trip, with our largest fish of the week being 17 inches. As the whitebait continues to move onto the flats, the flounder and snook fishing should only become better and better.

Overall, spring is here and the fish are active and eating. As we move into the summer and the whitebait invades our local waters, the fishing will only continue to heat up.

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