Fishing report for April 12: Waiting on the bait schools

April 12, 2015

Here’s what the Bill Jackson’s fishing department staff is seeing and hearing about out on the water:

Most anglers are still waiting on the large bait schools to come in and bring the bulk of the tarpon migration with them.

When that happens, here’s what you’ll need to be ready for one of the best fishing experiences Tampa Bay has to offer.

When that influx of bait arrives, the tarpon will push up into the bay, appear near bridges and move into area just off the beaches.

Set yourself up with a 6000 to 8000 series reel and 60-pound test braided fishing line with a 4/0 circle hook. Freeline hand-sized threadfin, big shad, mullet, cut mullet or cut catfish.

Troll parallel to the beaches and look for tarpon to be finning and “rolling” on the surface or stacked up from the bottom to the surface.

Typical areas to find tarpon action are around the Skyway Bridge, Egmont Key and Anna Maria Island.

The bait brings the tarpon, but that also means the tarpon bring in the big bull sharks and hammerheads. They will be patrolling just beyond the sandbars along the beaches.

For now, black drum are under the mangroves, snook are becoming more active and inshore species such as seatrout and redfish will become more aggressive under dock lights at night.