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SnookBend365

New Boat Owner. Where To Fish?

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I live in Clearwater and understand Mobbly Bayou, Double Branch, and Upper Tampa Bay is too hot to fish right now. I am looking to catch the regular inshore fish. I mainly use lures (mirrordines, xrap, spook jr). Have not had much luck out there and looking for any advice on where to go. Have a 15ft flats boat with a 25hp. No trolling motor. Just want to catch quality fish besides lady fish and catfish! Also interested in night fishing. Look forward to your ideas.

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Yes the water is hot everywhere now - but fish still have to eat.  UTB holds fish as it does all year long.  

 

Google Earth is your friend.  Look for points, pockets and passes.  Shallow, patchy grass flats hold reds but you have to search for them.  If there are oyster beds/bars in the vicinity -  then all the better and deeper water nearby is always a good thing as well.

 

Throwing freelined select shrimp or freelined pins/whitebait around or under docks at night (better if lighted) is a good tactic for snook.

 

A trolling motor is mandatory though.  Get one as soon as you can and it will make a difference in your ability to get around on skinny flats - but more importantly - it will help you be more stealthy which is a key to fishing inshore for Reds and snook.

 

Good luck and post reports (with pics if possible) when you do have some success.  

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+1 on the trolling motor. I recently obtained a boat (12' jon boat) and have been hitting the various flats around Ft. Desoto with pretty good success. Get out early around sunrise and get some good quality fishing before it gets too hot. Trout and snapper bite has been really good out there.

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Welcome to our family. Agree also on the trolling motor. There are many no motor zones around where they're needed unless you plan on poling. They're definitely needed fishing mangrove shorelines or docks.  Early morning is the best time during the day.

 

If you're catching ladyfish, you might want to cut them up into chunks as they sometimes are great bait.  Fishing artificials like you do you could put a chunk on a rod and put it into the rodholder. Ask Mike (pickgrin) about the 41" snook he caught in UTB in the middle of summer, middle of the day, and no water movement at all. Ya never know. lol

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What I would do without a TM at this point is pick a nice grass flat in the bay area, and drift it with the wind. Just make sure you are not drifting a NMZ so you can use the outboard to reposition and or move to a different flat. There's gobs of killer flats, mangroves, docks, channels, etc and more than enough fish out there man. Just work the flats hard! Work the potholes and areas near a slight drop off... Work lures fast, slow, change colors (lures), topwater, mid level, and bottom lures like shrimps, etc. cover the water column thoroughly. Look for general fishy activity like mullet jumping, birds diving, water moving on high tide, low tide, etc....

I really don't think anyone is going to give out "their" spots online. Hopefully you understand.

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Not a secret spot at all but most of St. Josephs Sound is very good for drift fishing.  There are NMZs near Caladesi and Honeymoon Islands but other than them, it's pretty much wide open.

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I've fished upper Tampa bay last week and did vey well. The rain has kept the water cooler. Out going tide has been my friend. Better luck there than in the ft. Desoto area.

 

That being said, I fis in a yak. You might have more success getting into the flats with a trolling moter. You are already invested, I don't think the moter would put you Behring the eight ball.

 

I fish mostly Artie's too

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Look on google earth.....every canal up there by you will hold fish. especially at night.   fish them all.   make a record of what docks you caught fish on, or where you saw them.  if youre night fishing and want to use artificials.....I know Im about to completely stun the fishing community with this comment.....but sometimes ill take a glow shrimp and a flashlight.....hold the shrimp to the flashlight in your palm for 15 seconds to "charge" it.....work it slowly along the edges of the lights and docks. 

 

Im a livebait guy all day but I have been known to deploy the glowing shrimp method once or twice to get a lunker

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Look on google earth.....every canal up there by you will hold fish. especially at night.   fish them all.   make a record of what docks you caught fish on, or where you saw them.  if youre night fishing and want to use artificials.....I know Im about to completely stun the fishing community with this comment.....but sometimes ill take a glow shrimp and a flashlight.....hold the shrimp to the flashlight in your palm for 15 seconds to "charge" it.....work it slowly along the edges of the lights and docks. 

 

Im a livebait guy all day but I have been known to deploy the glowing shrimp method once or twice to get a lunker

 

Traitor!!!! hahahahahahahaha

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