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Thread: Tampa Bay - 2 new species

  1. #1
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    Default Tampa Bay - 2 new species

    I arrived in Tampa yesterday for several days of fishing with kayak guide Neil Taylor of Strike Three Kayak Fishing. This morning we drove to near the mouth of Tampa Bay and waited for over an hour before the thunderstorms were safely out of the way. It rained for the first hour we were on the water. We began by jigging in a 10-ft trough using one of Neil's unique lures -- he ties a colorful metal jig and a pink teaser fly on the same loop knot.
    I caught four small ladyfish early on. My next catch fought hard and turned out to be a small bonnethead shark. Its skin was like sandpaper.


    2003-08-01 01-36-55.jpg 2003-08-01 01-37-00.jpg 2003-08-01 01-37-07.jpg


    A few minutes later I caught a gafftopsail catfish - this saltwater species has a long pointed dorsal fin.

    2003-08-01 01-46-48.jpg 2003-08-01 01-46-56.jpg

    Then I got a hardhead catfish. That rascal jabbed me in the finger with a sharp fin. It bled a bit and hurt for an hour. It seems to be fine now.


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    Neil turned me loose to go cast to mangrove edges. I caught two snook there. I anchored up over grass flats and caught 13 speckled trout. I trolled between spots and picked up a Spanish mackeral -- they have a mouth full of sharp teeth.


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    Although the action was not fast and furious this morning, I was able to catch 7 species, including two new species for me (bonnethead shark, gafftopsail catfish).
    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  2. #2
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    You got a nice variety of pull-age there. I plan on going down soon. Hopefully I'll get some water time.

    Outback 2015
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    Maui

  3. #3
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    John,

    You realize you stuck the hardhead catfish first. Paybacks are hell.

    Congrats on a good day -- new species and variety. Hard to beat that.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  4. #4
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    It seems like the fishery has recovered well after the hurricane. Congrats on a good first day!
    -manny

    Hobie Outback
    Wilderness Systems 130T

  5. #5
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    On Day 2, we fished much of the time in a stiff breeze and steady wave action. The bite was generally slow, but we had one 30-min period with fish busting bait in open water. It was tough staying with the fish because the wind kept pushing us past them. I caught 4 jacks, a bluefish, several ladyfish, and a mangrove snapper during that time.


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    Near the end of the trip I caught a nice snook next to some mangroves.

    IMAG0352.jpg

    We see plenty of brown pelicans on most of our trips here. Today I saw a flock of the larger white pelicans for the first time in a while.

    2003-08-01 01-42-46.jpg
    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  6. #6
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    I've vicariously followed the Tampa stories for a couple years and do appreciate the variety of fish you catch. However, I've rarely if ever seen what I would consider to be a big fish in the photos. Is it just the nature of the bay fishery that big fish don't come into the area or perhaps time of year?
    Mike
    Pro Angler 14 "The Grand Wazoo"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Mike View Post
    I've vicariously followed the Tampa stories for a couple years and do appreciate the variety of fish you catch. However, I've rarely if ever seen what I would consider to be a big fish in the photos. Is it just the nature of the bay fishery that big fish don't come into the area or perhaps time of year?
    There are a few large fish in the areas where we fish. I am not very good at catching large fish, either in Tampa or at home. I hold my own with small and medium fish. I have hooked, but not landed, 70-lb black drum -- six in one day jigging the same light lures we use for pompano. They all broke off on bridge piling before I could get them in. I hooked a tarpon last year. It took one leap and spit the jighead. My biggest red here is 26" and the largest snook is 27". The longest fish I caught here was a 38" blacktip shark -- all on 1/8-oz jigheads and 3" paddletails with a 7' medium rod.

    The guide, Neil, often catches some larger fish when we are out. Today he got a 30" red on his third cast. The bait fishermen may catch larger fish -- we are fishing all artificial, and are not fishing with heavy tackle. We are strictly inshore fishermen and venture only 1-3 mile from a launch point. Most of our fishing is in depths of less than 5'. I enjoy the variety of species. Many of the fish here pull harder than the ones at home. A 15" pompano pulls like a 24" striper.
    Last edited by J.A. Veil; 10-19-2017 at 06:20 AM.
    John Veil
    Annapolis
    Native Watercraft Manta Ray 11 and Slayer Propel 10
    Member - Pro Staff team for Native Watercraft

    Author - "Fishing in the Comfort Zone" - light tackle fishing techniques for kayaks and small boats

  8. #8
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    Mike- I fished Tampa Bay a few years ago- using pretty much the same tackle we use from our kayaks- caught a 30 pound jack cravelle and a snook we released (wasn’t the season) estimated at 15 pounds...tons of ladyfish (poor man’s tarpon) and lots of snapper, redfish and speckled trout and we fished along a rock jetty and back in the mangrove flats...believe it or not most of our fish came from fishing the boat docks with small live alwifes- hook them in the belly and toss them back under the dock- boom! big snook, baby tarpon, redfish and gator trout...in front of multi-million dollar mansions...big fish in canals under boat docks is normal...we went back into a cul-de-sac canal that had tarpon rolling every where...50-75 pound tarpon...we hooked up two before they simply disappeared...none landed...
    Last edited by ronaultmtd; 10-21-2017 at 09:03 AM.
    "Lady Luck" 2016 Red Hibiscus Outback
    "Wet Dream" 2011 yellow Ocean Prowler 13

  9. #9
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    Mike,

    I've seen John catch many nice-sized fish there. But indeed one of the interesting things about Tampa fishing is variety. One day I caught 8 species on the fly during a trip with Neil Taylor including one of those gaff-topsail catfish that John has pictured in this thread. I didn't know what kind of fish most of them were and had to ask Neil to identify them. I've also caught a lot of specks and ladyfish larger than 20 inches and a few snooks over 20 inches that towed my kayak right into the mangrove roots. As for pompano, here are two that ripped line from my reel faster than any legal striper I've caught:

    E.jpg F.jpg

    I have not exceeded 20 inches on a redfish yet, but I hope to do that on my next trip south.

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    And of course you cannot discount the scenery we see on our visits there. Here's a "guest" on one of our outings photographed by John Rentch:

    M.jpg N.jpg

    Tampa is a simply a great location for a year-round kayak fishery that is relatively "close" given the daily Southwest Airlines flights from BWI to Tampa that are reasonably priced. True, I have not caught any huge fish there, but to be honest, I wouldn't want to while sitting in a kayak. I'd like to have to more boat around me than a kayak before tackling the blacktip shark that John landed or the 30 pound jack that Ron caught.
    Mark

    Slate Hobie Revolution 13
    Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12

    Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
    Available on Amazon.com

  10. #10
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    Congrats on the new species's, John! How many does that make now?
    Bruce

    Wilderness System, Thresher 155

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