Fishing & Boating

Capt. Markham | Cooler water produces a hot bite on top

With all the rain lately, water temperatures have maintained a mid-80’s level. Fish have been more active in the cooler temps as compared to the low 90s temps that we had a couple of weeks ago.

The most active species have been spotted seatrout. Limits of trout have averaged around 17-to 18-inches with the big one of this report in the upper 20-inch range. While we’ve experienced the best bite for all species early in the day, action has been steady on days fished with overcast skies. The early morning top water bite has been terrific, and most of our largest fish have been in the hour around sunrise.

Topwater lures like the Heddon Zara Super Spook, MirrOlure Top Dog, and MirrOlure MirrOmullet XL have been the top meat getters for big fish. Snook, trout, and redfish have all been caught on these lures when the top water bite was on.

Fishing in Terra Ceia and Miguel Bays has improved greatly with the cooler water temperatures, and lower Tampa Bay from the Bulkhead to Joe Bay has seen consistent action. Steady action for trout and flounder has been the rule in the deeper waters of lower Tampa Bay. Fishing has been best in 6- to 10 feet of water while using CAL Jigs with Shad tails. A quarter-ounce CAL Jighead in chartreuse with a night glow or night glow/gold holographic glitter Shad tail has been producing consistent catches of trout and flounder.

In the back bays, redfish have been hitting the MirrOlure Lil’ John jerk bait rigged on 1/16-ounce jig heads. Most fish have been setting into the potholes on the falling tide, and moving up around the mangroves on the rising tides. Very high water this week with the upcoming full moon on Friday, coupled with southwest winds will bring tide levels way up over the predicted high tide levels, making it difficult to fish mangroves with success until the level of the water drops, pushing the fish back out to the surrounding areas. Scented lures like the Lil’ John, DOA Shrimp, and similar baits have been highly productive when worked slowly around the perimeter of mangroves and oyster bars here.

Brisk moving water can be expected along with a good bite in both early morning and early evening time frames as we approach the full moon. ‘Til thenI’ll catch ya later! Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, Florida, specializing in light tackle fishing with artificial lures using spin, plug, and fly tackle and can be reached at (941) 228-3474 or via his website at