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Summer Fishing Gets Started with Tropical Storm & Tarpon

The past several months I’ve been extremely busy chasing snook, redfish, trout, flounder, pompano, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, grouper, and a variety of other species. We’ve had some extreme weather this winter, and as we slide into June and enter Tarpon season, it appears that we’re kicking off the summer with a tropical mess. This will serve as a reminder that we need to keep an eye on the tropics for what may be heading this way during hurricane season.
Our first tropical disturbance blew in just before the new moon, when most anglers in the area were prime for the tarpon tune up! Fish were showing up in fairly good numbers and it was a good sign of things to come. Strong winds and lots of rain during the first week of June had us on our toes, but kicked the wind out of our tarpon sails. Usually the beginning of June is not only a hot one on the water, but is met with equal heat from the tarpon fishing that soars to a feverish pitch. Schools of fish that were running the beaches and parts of lower Tampa Bay scattered with the high winds and soaking rain. The water quality became stained by tannin and storm water run off. Murky water clouded up areas where sight fishing was going strong the week prior. Fortunately, with the strong tides as we come off the new moon, the bay should be cleaning up soon and tarpon, along with everything else, will be back to their normal haunts and the bite will continue on.

Joe McNerney with Snook
Joe McNerney with Snook

We’ve had flurries of good action here in Terra Ceia with snook. On several trips that were run around some stormy, windy weather, linesiders took the opportunity to show us their stuff by blasting our baits. CAL Jigs with Shad tails, the new DOA Airheads, and the new MirrOlure Pro Dogs and new C- Eye Pro Series MirrOdines have been hot baits for these fish. Anglers have been catching snook from 20-to 32-inches here. While these numbers are encouraging, from my point of view, we are still a far cry from a point where we were 3 years ago with snook prior to the freezes. But it’s possible that the FWC may reopen this fish and add it to the take list come September when the closure on the Gulf coast is due to end.
For me not mention redfish would be silly; like me saying I never wear sunglasses while fishing. It just doesn’t happen. I have to mention redfish in each fishing report because we always have good action with them.  For me, top lures have consistently been the Eppinger Rex Spoon and the CAL Shad. With the murky water here after the storms, the copper colored half-ounce Rex has been our go-to lure for redfish. At times we can wax some nice reds on topwater lures like the MirrOmullet when conditions are calm under low light.
With summer starting, we have a variety of fish to look for. Permit come into their own here on artificial reefs and wrecks. Sharks have arrived with barracudas on wrecks. Many sharks continue inshore to follow tarpon schools and get in on the feeding frenzy with these giant herrings. We have an exciting time ahead, and for all, the coming weeks will be looked forward to with eager anticipation. ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!