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True-king and I are taking a kayak trip down to Tampa in May. We will most likely target Cockroach Bay and other surrounding areas. We mainly want to fish some flats and mangroves. Has anyone on here fished this? What other areas should we checkout?
 

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Squid technician
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I have fished Tampa bay and surrounding areas many times and fished there last October.

Good spots will be around Ft. Desoto, the residential canals along madeira beach and Boca Ciega bay, weedon island state park, double branch bay and rattlesnake key.

If you want to, send Wade up to Sam's in Orange Beach where I work and I'll bring my chart of the area and show him some spots.

Chris
 

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I hope this is helpful to you but I noticed last year when I went to Tampa to fish that there are lots of public boat ramps but they are mostly in residential areas and close very early in the evening. So if you plan on night fishing there in the canals and stuff hit the bait shops or the local hangouts and find one you can actually park at during the night. Just something I didn't think about when I went that turned into a problem. I agree with the Ft. Desoto area. I know a Yak guide there that is stricly artificial only, I can pass you his info via PM if interested.

Chappy
 

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There is a launch that I've parked at all night in Madeira Beach but its slap dab in the middle of a neighborhood and as long as you launch quietly you shouldn't get any complaints. Terrific access there for inshore or offshore fishing. I'll get the launch address and shoot it to you.
 

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tunapopper (1/22/2010)I have fished Tampa bay and surrounding areas many times and fished there last October.



Good spots will be around Ft. Desoto, the residential canals along madeira beach and Boca Ciega bay, weedon island state park, double branch bay and rattlesnake key.



If you want to, send Wade up to Sam's in Orange Beach where I work and I'll bring my chart of the area and show him some spots.



Chris


I'll come by next time I'm in town, which should be in a few weeks. Thanks Chris.
 

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Just remember I'm at Sam's now Wade. A member came over to see me the other day and went to Top Gun and said my former employer was a little displeased after asking for me, realizing I didn't work there anymore and then left to come find me!
 

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I've fished the Tampa Bay area a few times..

I've fished Cockroach Bay.. make sure you get to the launch early.. There is a LONG line for the launch.. I know your gonna be using your kayaks but it's a 2 lane road. There's a bunch of mangroves but a lot of boats fish the area.

I've also fished Weeden Island. I would recommend going here. Very kayak friendly and lots of mangroves. If you fish here work your way along and fish the mangroves all the way to the mouth. From what I've seen, I usually see more and more snook the closer to the mouth I get.

May is the time of year when the snook start heading out the passes to run the beaches. I would suggest going to Fort Desoto for that.

There is a member on here that lives in the Tampa area and does really good fishing down there. Don't remember his name but he was the one asking about rod holders for a Revo. So maybe he'll chime in with even better info.
 

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Sorry, for the delayed post but I tried to answer this on my cell phone a few days ago and it just wouldn't let me post...



Anyways, I got some bad news for those of you headed this direction this year. If you haven't heard already, the long cold snap we had caused the water to get into the low 40's which triggered a MAJOR fish kill that has taken a huge toll on our snook population. I went out to weedon twice in the past two weeks and have been very depressed each time. First, I was there right after the cold snap broke. We started paddling out thinking the fish would be huddled around the warmer waters of the power plant and they were... Except they were all dead, littering the bottom with countless ladyfish, catfish, mullet, jacks, and many many big snook. There were schools of stunned ladyfish and mullet on the surface, barely alive, and there were at least 4 boats out there with nets just netting the crap out of anything that moved. Called the FWC but I am sure the damage was already done.



Second trip was even worse. The weather has warmed considerably so the fish on the bottom had begun to float and the stink was everywhere. I counted 6 dead snook over 40", many more in the 30's and the rest just blended in with the piles of ladyfish and catfish that littered the shores. We even saw a 80+ lb tarpon floating down the channel. They must have turned off the outflow during the cold snap because I am not sure any snook survived.



The past two weeks here have been nothing but dead snook, and dead tarpon reports. The trout have begun to nibble again and the reds are slowly coming back to life but live snook sitings have been few and far between, and they are not in good shape. There hasn't been a freeze like this since 1977 and this one was longer so it could be years before the snook population rebounds.



If you are still coming, I would suggest targeting reds and trout, and maybe you might get a surviving snook but you will be lucky so handle it with care. Fort Desoto, Outside of Weedon Island, Johns pass, HoneyMoon Island/Caladesi Island, the flats on both sides of the skyway bridge, Cockroach Bay, Bishop Harbor... All these places are great fisheries and would be worth a visit for reds, trout, and maybe snook. If you are looking to hook something bigger, May is the beginning of the tarpon running right off the beach. Just pick a beach (I like Indian Rocks, and Anna Maria), paddle out about 50 to 100 yards and look for the schools of tarpon daisy chaining down the beach. Depending on the water temp there might even be some lingering kingfish.



Shoot me a pm before your visit and I will try and point you in the right direction.
 

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Nick you got your KW team together yet? If you got two open slots I have twobuddies here that kill it just like me and Tim...I think you met them that day we killed the reds...Lee and Chandler. They could really help out if you dont have 5. How about trueking and Private pilot...I know you boys fish alot...gonna play this year?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I appreciate the info Nick. We'll let you know when we're coming out

Tex, I'm still deciding if I should enter. I kinda want to try it and I kinda dont.
 

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Chris, I got my team together down here and posted the kayak wars link to all the bay area forums I am a part of to try and give you panhandle boys a run for your money! Should be fun!
 

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Nick, its sad to hear about the inshore fish kill down there. I have a lot of family in Tampa and they have been telling me about how bad its been. I'm gladI got down there in October to do some snook fishing before this and even got my personal best of 38 inches.

Good luck this season and hope the fishing rebounds well from this.

Chris
 

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Ft Desoto and all the mangroves they have to offer. The bridges and shorelines before you enter Fort Desoto Have some bigger fish rolling through there also--good reds tailing, snook-season canceled, trout near deeper water. They are picky however so bring a selection of colors gulp sizes,,,, ectt...
 
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