Fishing has been slow but steady the last couple of months. The redfish run lasted until early March, when the schools that had been haunting Merry Pier dissipated – probably over to Shell Key and Ft. Desoto. But the black drum are still here, and biting. A 5 pound black drum, blackened in a cast iron skillet with Cajun seasoning, is just as tasty as a redfish!
No sign of bait yet, although there are glass minnows and fry appearing. Under the pier, giant snook are cruising, but they have lockjaw. Imagine that! Every now and then somebody will pull up a small flounder or porgy. Macks are making an appearance when the current is running strong. And sheepshead are back and biting, including a monster 5 pounder last weekend.
So far, no sign of mangrove snapper. Once the bait shows, they won’t be far behind. There are rumors of pompano in the Passes and at the Jetty. And, with grouper season closed until 7/1, nobody is targeting them (although I suspect they are hanging out in the usual spots). Cobia may be here, but, again, no one is targeting them… yet. A couple of weeks ago, I watched two 100+ pound tarpon hanging out and sunning themselves on the surface at McPhearson Bayou. That’s the earliest I can recall seeing them – and it bodes well for summer 2014 fishing in the Tampa Bay area!