Capt Pat Damico provides this report from his Captain’s Corner: Conditions are perfect for family fun. Small freshwater lakes and ponds are everywhere, and all have panfish and bass. Developments and golf courses are a good example. Summer weeds to foul hooks are absent, and fish are always hungry. Your freshwater trout equipment sitting in the garage will be perfect. A 3-5 weight fly rod with floating weight-forward line and a simple 6-foot leader tapered to 6-pound test will launch small flies, size 6-10, that imitate ants, beetles, crickets and minnows. White, black and chartreuse are all good colors. Pick an area free of trees and people to prevent problems with backcasts. Docks, bridges, lily pads, weed beds, overhanging trees and stumps offer structure that harbor food for these scrappy gamefish. Cast around these fish magnets and work both floating and submerged offerings. Flies should be worked slowly, and any hesitation felt should be met with a hook set.
Capt Rick Grassett reports anglers fishing with him, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, caught and released trout in Sarasota Bay on flies, CAL jigs with shad tails and DOA shrimp during the past week. Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano and more should be a good option on deep grass flats and passes of Sarasota Bay. You should also find larger trout in shallow water along with snook and reds when conditions are good. Look for action in the coastal gulf to take off with king and Spanish mackerel, cobia and tripletail. Fishing lighted docks and bridges in the ICW for snook with flies and DOA Lures continues to be a good option.
Kayak guide Neil Taylor reports it is always this way with fishing. It is great one day, then not so great the next. That is happening right now. But overall there are more good days than bad. Opportunities are always there: Will you catch four really big fish or will you catch 40 pretty good fish? You will have a mix of both. Trout, a standard, are easy IF you go to the right place. You can catch a lot of them one place but are they big trout? Redfish, still not the best they could be, you can catch them IF you go to the right spot AT the right time. It is spring: Pompano and mackerel are good and getting better every day that goes by.
Fishing at MacDill AFB remains fairly slow this winter with a lack of redfish. However, as the weather warms I expect fishing to pick up. One report indicated good numbers of tailing black drum on the flat. Snook will be on the flat soon and trout remain available in the creeks. Snook are coming out on the Cypress flat also. Look for them on the incoming tide and fish Puglici minnows on a 25 lb tippet.