The weather and fishing has been fantastic the past week. We have been catching a variety of species in all depths. Trout, mackerel, cobia, and pompano are all on the move and feeding on a good moving tide.
The trout are spread out from 2-8 feet of water, and can be found near structure or grassy spotty bottom. Be ready to move around until you locate them. I like to slowly work an area with structure by trolling motor until we catch some fish, and then anchor off the spot that produced to see if it is holding more fish. Another good tactic is drifting the grass flats and bouncing jigs across the bottom.
Deploy a chum bag in the deeper flats to get mackerel in the area. Work your baits faster and higher in the water column to get a reaction strike from these fast moving toothy critters. Use an XXl long shank hook for bait and tie on a 60 pound leader to lures to prevent cutoffs. We have found the best Spanish mackerel bite in 7-12 feet of water on a moving tide.
We are finding pompano off the many marked rock piles off Hernando Beach while targeting trout. The Lil Johns by Mirro-lure work great on a 1/4-1/8 ounce jig head. Let the jig sink close to the bottom and work it in a slow "jerky" motion. If you start getting strikes but no hook ups, try cutting the first 1/2 inch off the plastic bait prior to putting it on the jig. This usually does the trick. Another great lure for pompano are Mirro-dines by Mirrolure. These work well because if the pompano strike and miss, the lure's two sets of treble hooks usually catch hold around the mouth.
The time has come to be on the "lookout" for silver king sightings! Tarpon will soon arrive to test your tackle from Aripeka to Homosassa. I expect good numbers to settle into our region over the next month so get ready!
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson runs Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Contact him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352)238-3581.