I fished 5 of the past 8 days in Tampa Bay with guide Neil Taylor of Strike Three Kayak fishing. This was my sixth trip to Tampa in 2016 to fish with Neil covering 22 days on the water. We had very agreeable weather -- calm winds, rain held off until we were done each day, and not as hot as it was a few weeks ago.
I started last Sun by jigging light lures next to bridge pilings in 10-15 ft depth. The lure is a combination of a 1/2-oz Silly Willy spoon and a teaser fly tied by Neil. Both are tied onto the same loop using a loop knot.
I hoped to find large black drum and cobia, but they did not show up. I did get five species that day including one new to me (striped burrfish - a large spiny pufferfish).
I had several days of business, then returned to fish with Neil on Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun. We fished near the southern mouth of Tampa Bay all four days. We fished in several different types of habitats. Often we anchored up on shallow flats and cast 1/8-oz jigheads and 12 Fathom plastic tails. At other times we paddled along the edges of mangrove islands casting the same light lures. On three of the days, we jigged the Silly Willy/teaser rig in 8-10' depth in a channel between two islands. This latter form of fishing produced the most variety. On each of these days I caught at least 6 species with some overlap but some new species each day. Here is the list of species I caught during the five trips.
Today we were on the water before sunrise and watched the sun come up while catching fish.
After a lousy start (several tangles and broken lines in the dark), I found my stride and had my best day of the five. I caught 6 large pompano on the jig, six snook casting to mangrove edges, and two cute pufferfish that inflated when I touched them.
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I am already booked to return to fish with Neil in December. Several of my OGWLF buddies will join me then.