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Adapting to conditions is the key to productive fishing

February brought the Tampa Bay area spring like weather and conditions. Mild morning temperatures with days reaching into the high 70s to low 80s and light breezes was like being in paradise if only for the moment. Then March came and conditions totally changed. Our northern friends were experiencing some harsh winter storms and we were feeling the effect of them. Days with windy conditions, mornings with temps in the 40s and afternoons barely reaching the mid to high 60s made us feel like were were reliving the coldest January we have had since 2010. Ok maybe I am over dramatizing it a bit but for this guy who has lived in Florida for going on 50 years that is cold for my thin blood! It also had an effect for our mostly tropical type fish like Snook.

It was time to my fishing style to the conditions handed me as I had many charters on the books and did not want to disappoint my customers. Many of my customers wanted to keep fish for dinner so this was the perfect time to buy a bucket full of live shrimp and take them Sheepshead fishing. Truth be known this is one of my favorite styles of fishing. The way I do it is much like deep sea fishing where you drop a bait to the bottom of the ocean floor and hang on as that bait gets gobbled down by some creature in the deep. The main difference is we do this inside of Tampa Bay with light tackle on the many ship wrecks,rock piles,artificial reefs and deep channel edges that are abundant in the area. Over the years I have spent many days searching out these areas to have a place that will produce fish my customers not only enjoy doing battle with but can take home to eat at the end of the day. Through out the year these places hold different variety’s of fish. Sheepshead, Mangrove Snapper and Lane Snapper just to name a few.

Changing it up produced some nice catches in March. For the most part of March we spent our days Sheepshead fishing. Customers were landing Sheepshead pushing close to 5 pounds. Doesn’t sound big? Wait until you battle one on light spinning gear and 20 pound test fishing line. They can pull some drag! Check out the pictures of some of these catches.

sheepsheadsheepheadTampa Bay fishing chartersfamily fishing charter

Just around the last week of March things changed a bit and water temperatures rose back into the low 70s. The wind started blowing again so it was time to make another change. Back water areas that were holding Snook, Trout and Redfish were the place to be. The key was to have the right bait,moving water and fish protected areas. It paid off and we were able to produce some quality catches of Snook,Trout and Redfish. We even had one day the wind laid down enough to also target Sheepshead.

snook fishing red drum

take a kid fishingcaptain steve betz

March was a pretty diverse month as far as fishing and weather conditions went. It was really a great time to mix it up. April is now here and I expect as we experience our true spring weather that there is going to be multiple species to target. Snook, Redfish, Trout, Spanish Mackerel and it wont be long until the large tasty Mangrove Snapper are here and ready to be added to the menu.

My calendar fills up fast with booking this time of the year so don’t delay and book ahead to get select dates. Always remember that if I am not available to take you on the date you choose that I work with a team of hand picked guides that I can usually place you with. We have it covered for just about any type of fishing that you would like to do.

Thank you for stopping by to read my reports and I hope that no matter who you book you’re next fishing adventure with that you have tight lines and enjoy you’re stay in Florida.

Capt. Steve Betz


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