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Guest CampDC

Picnic Island and 4th Street Kayak Reports

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Guest CampDC

Hey Everyone! This is going to be my first report so bear with me here...Saturday I took the kayak out to Picnic Island to fish the incoming tide. I showed up around 9:30 and rounded up bait in the beach area. The bait situation has always been good for me through there. I caught medium-sized pilchards and several mullet in the 5" to 8" range in the very shallow water less than knee deep. I launched the kayak at the canoe launch around 10:30. I ended up catching 2 reds (20" and a pupster), 3 snook (the largest was 21") and a big jack that took me for a ride. All fish were caught on pilchards close to mangroves. Also noteworthy: I ran into a guy who had a couple of nice flounder that he caught trolling shrimp behind his kayak and I saw two Bonnetheads up close and personal. No pics from this trip unfortunately...To anyone who has never launched a kayak here - The canoe launch gets a little hairy at high tide with all of the mangroves. It's a pretty tight fit and you've got to watch out for spider webs and racoons through there. It's definitely doable though...Sunday I launched at 4th street to fish the incoming tide. The bait situation was very good on the side of the road that faces Tampa. Lots of slab pilchards during the low tide in knee to waist deep water. Being that this was my first time in that area, I paddled out a ways and didn't realize how skinny the water got during low tide. My timing to fish the area I wanted to fish definitely was a bit off. Besides the Jacks that were running EVERYWHERE through there, I was having a pretty slow day and it was pretty much miserably hot out. Finally, the mother of all mullet schools came through and I hooked up with a 24" Redfish with triple spots and a 15" trout. Both fish were caught on slab pilchards that died in my bait well. I cut the heads and tails off, hooked up the remaining portion of the body, and chunked it out there.post-88129-14121218983138_thumb.jpgpost-88129-14121218983402_thumb.jpgAnyway, I hope everyone else had a great weekend. Tight lines!Dan

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Guest CampDC

Sunday I also had a runaway cast net bucket that got swept out in the current when I hopped off of my kayak to catch some fresh bait...So if anyone on this forum was among the three other kayaks within sight and saw a guy running across a very shallow flat after a small bucket....It was me :fish-taunt: LOL

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Guest CampDC

Thanks guys! Barry - I've got a question about picnic island...I did some wade fishing there before I got my kayak. The cloudy water off of the point with the gazebo always gave me the heebie jeebies so I never went out too far over there. The bottom can get pretty soft through there too...Anyway, in regards to the water color, do you catch more fish in the areas that are clearer with a harder bottom vs. the cloudy water with the softer bottom? I struggled there wade fishing even though I knew that there were lots of fish around. Thanks!

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Guest CampDC

Thanks! I've actually never chummed for bait. An old timer at Cypress Pointe taught me the art of finding bait like a ninja. However, I still do occasionally have problems and I'm certainly not a master.....baiter (no pun intended :laughing: ). My strategy is to stick to the areas I know even if they're a little out of the way. Then when I'm actually fishing I observe the bait situation in all of the different areas I cover for future reference. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned about saltwater fishing is that you have to be confident that you can round up good bait 100% of the time with minimal effort. I think that lesson applies more so to wade fisherman and kayak fisherman too since we don't have the luxury of covering lots of ground to catch bait (ie. taking a boat out to a bridge to catch bait).

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Nice report, you found some good fish. I work very close to Weedon Island so when I do fish after work I go there. I have heard good reports about Picnic Island and 4th Street. Does Picnic Island park close after sunset and can one still get out if they stay late which I typically do? What are your thoughts about overall safety there for yourself and your vehicle?Also wondering about the grass flats there, when I look on Google maps I do not see a lot of grass like I do in Weedon.

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Guest CampDC

Thanks rkotinsky. The park closes at dusk, which includes the canoe launch I'm referencing. However, the boat launch/fishing pier technically isn't in the park and is open all night. The catch with that is that it can add some serious distance to your paddle unless you're fishing the grass on the side of the island facing St Pete. I'm also told that the flats on the north side of shipping channel are good and they are definitely within reasonable paddling distance from the boat launch area. The park is very pleasant during the week, but there is a TON of traffic through there on the weekend. I personally have never worried about my safety or the safety of my vehicle, but there is some rift raft that occasionally come there, usually associated with a cookout at the pavilions. There are also park rangers/workers there and I've seen police and the FWC hanging out there before too. I think that Barrynfl will be a better reference for the fishing there. I can tell you that that there is decent grass off of the beach facing St. Pete. I usually try to focus on the mangroves while I'm there so grass is a little less of a concern for me. I've also never been to Weedon, so I can't compare. Good luck!

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Where is the kayak launch at Picnic Island? I always just launch off the beach facing Weedon Island (I think it's the first parking lot on the right after the ramp) or the boat ramp itself.

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Where is the kayak launch at Picnic Island? I always just launch off the beach facing Weedon Island (I think it's the first parking lot on the right after the ramp) or the boat ramp itself.

As you pull into the park it's on your left side, just watch for the signs. There is a small opening on the right side for vehicles. The trail is a bit tight, I break my paddle down to a single to manage the course. It opens up to a nice mangrove line going east an west that is good for high tides.

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As you pull into the park it's on your left side' date=' just watch for the signs. There is a small opening on the right side for vehicles. The trail is a bit tight, I break my paddle down to a single to manage the course. It opens up to a nice mangrove line going east an west that is good for high tides.[/quote']Is this the spot you speak of?post-463-14121218983655_thumb.png

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Thanks guys! Barry - I've got a question about picnic island...I did some wade fishing there before I got my kayak. The cloudy water off of the point with the gazebo always gave me the heebie jeebies so I never went out too far over there. The bottom can get pretty soft through there too...Anyway' date=' in regards to the water color, do you catch more fish in the areas that are clearer with a harder bottom vs. the cloudy water with the softer bottom? I struggled there wade fishing even though I knew that there were lots of fish around. Thanks![/quote']Dan.....I've always done best fishing along the beach. I usually start near and off the rocks and work my way north toward the pier. It's a good solid bottom and usually the water is pretty clear. I try to work the edges of the grass. I've gotten several slams there and a couple of good flounder, too (21"). Never had much luck by the point. I know what you're talking about with the cloudy water. Yes, the area is known for sharks but I've never had a problem. It's a soft bottom but until you get too far east it's wadeable. Too far east and you're in mud up to your knees! lol Have you taken your yak out along the sand bar and gone south? There are times there are schools of big reds off the bar on both sides. The bar is wadeable at very low tides but I'm short so I can't go all that far. LOL Tight lines! :)

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As you pull into the park it's on your left side' date=' just watch for the signs. There is a small opening on the right side for vehicles. The trail is a bit tight' date=' I break my paddle down to a single to manage the course. It opens up to a nice mangrove line going east an west that is good for high tides.[/quote'']Is this the spot you speak of?[attachment=5973]PicnicIsland.png[/attachment]
That's the spot. Josh or someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I've read that it's basically unusable at a pretty low tide. Just mud and almost no water. I certainly wouldn't walk in that area as the mud is really deep. If this is the case you can launch on the beach side or even at the boat ramp with no problem. When I had a yak I launched at the ramp and fished north up to the Port Tampa channel. Not much luck catching anything but at least the launch was easy. lol

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I've never fished PI but I have fished 4th st... I can tell you the 4th st area as a whole is very very fishy and hold great grass flats for miles! Great mangroves and cuts within them. Oyster bars etc... Me like. LOL

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Guest CampDC

That is the spot. The initial launch where you insert your boat into the water very shallow but once you get going in the Mangroves it seems like it would be okay unless we had a very low tide. I launched an hour or two after low tide on Saturday and the water through there was over knee deep.

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As you pull into the park it's on your left side' date=' just watch for the signs. There is a small opening on the right side for vehicles. The trail is a bit tight' date=' I break my paddle down to a single to manage the course. It opens up to a nice mangrove line going east an west that is good for high tides.[/quote'']Is this the spot you speak of?[attachment=5973]PicnicIsland.png[/attachment]
That is the spot. The initial launch where you insert your boat into the water very shallow but once you get going in the Mangroves it seems like it would be okay unless we had a very low tide. I launched an hour or two after low tide on Saturday and the water through there was over knee deep.

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Guest CampDC
Thanks guys! Barry - I've got a question about picnic island...I did some wade fishing there before I got my kayak. The cloudy water off of the point with the gazebo always gave me the heebie jeebies so I never went out too far over there. The bottom can get pretty soft through there too...Anyway' date=' in regards to the water color' date=' do you catch more fish in the areas that are clearer with a harder bottom vs. the cloudy water with the softer bottom? I struggled there wade fishing even though I knew that there were lots of fish around. Thanks![/quote'']Dan.....I've always done best fishing along the beach. I usually start near and off the rocks and work my way north toward the pier. It's a good solid bottom and usually the water is pretty clear. I try to work the edges of the grass. I've gotten several slams there and a couple of good flounder, too (21"). Never had much luck by the point. I know what you're talking about with the cloudy water. Yes, the area is known for sharks but I've never had a problem. It's a soft bottom but until you get too far east it's wadeable. Too far east and you're in mud up to your knees! lol Have you taken your yak out along the sand bar and gone south? There are times there are schools of big reds off the bar on both sides. The bar is wadeable at very low tides but I'm short so I can't go all that far. LOL Tight lines! :)
You're talking to a guy who is 5'6" on a tall day LOL. Are you referring to the sand bar that is south-southeast of the rock piles? I've never been out there but I will have to give it a try. I once saw a guy catch a very large Redfish on the Sandy hook opposite of the beaches (East side of the island) with cut frozen blue crab. I haven't had much luck off of the point either though.

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We're probably thinking of the same sand bar. It's west of the rocks at the south end of the beach and runs south-southeast from there. You can fish it pretty far south until you come to the warning sign for MacDill. I know exactly where that "hook" is and always wondered if there were fish there. I wouldn't wade there but fishing from shore is certainly possible. May give that area a shot next time I'm down there. Thanks, Dan!

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As you pull into the park it's on your left side' date=' just watch for the signs. There is a small opening on the right side for vehicles. The trail is a bit tight' date=' I break my paddle down to a single to manage the course. It opens up to a nice mangrove line going east an west that is good for high tides.[/quote'']Is this the spot you speak of?[attachment=5973]PicnicIsland.png[/attachment]
Yeah that is it....an no I wouldn't risk it on a bottom tide. I caught it as the tide was peaked last time an on the way back in it was going out an looking impossible within another hour so I guess it was a blessing fishing wasn't going well last time I went otherwise being stuck is a possibility I'd imagine. My kayak has a pretty good draft but that is not the place to want to push my luck because I can only imagine how deep that muck below can sink....big problems.

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Thanks for the info. I think I'll just launch at the parking lot across from this spot. I don't mind paddling. I haven't been on my yak in a while though! I've been spoiled by my jon boat! Engine is broken so I gotta fish somehow.

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Guest PRprostaffcom

Good job man you did better than I.... I am very new to the area would that happen to be the same 4th st in st pete cause that's where I live downtown

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Good job man you did better than I.... I am very new to the area would that happen to be the same 4th st in st pete cause that's where I live downtown

Same 4th St. Just all the way north to the end of it just before it merges with I-275 Northbound.

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