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Clearwater Kayak Fishing Report

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On: Thu, May 10, 2012 at 9:56PM | By: Captain Jesse Nofi

photo of the first Redfish of the night; Lying across a 30.5 inch wide kaya

Today’s plan was to capitalize on the heavy outgoing tides in Tampa bay. The plan was to free-line live bait for snook and redfish with hopes of sighting and hooking into the silver king—aka a giant tarpon.

I met my buddies Capt Jared Simonetti and Anthony Costello in Tampa, Florida where we launched our kayaks with plenty of time to spare before sundown. After launching we caught over 50 ladyfish and a few snook on swim baits and plugs. About an hour into fishing, Anthony casted into a huge pod of showering bait and hooked into a 50lb-class tarpon that jumped multiple times before spitting the treble hooks. The tarpon ate a Yozuri crystal minnow plug in the 5-inch floater size.

With large schools of shad and ladyfish everywhere, it was near impossible to keep the Ladyfish off of our hooks. As the sun began to set, I threw the net a handful of times until it was completely loaded with freshwater Shad. I filled up the bait bucket with about 50 live baits and set the rest free. The snook were popping shad underneath the bridge for a good 30 minutes. Every once in a while there would be a pop so loud it’d make you jump, like the sound of a gunshot.

We anchored up underneath the bridge as the tide dumped out and hooked into and caught a handful of snook. A few minutes later there was a real loud pop on Jared's bait. He hooked a large snook that ripped out line towards the piling and frayed through the 30lb-test fluorocarbon. Keep in mind it's not easy to catch a big snook when you're in a tight space surrounded by bridge pilings; however, for us it is the most exciting and rewarding way to catch a big snook, especially from a kayak, mainly because It is the most challenging way to accomplish the task that we've all achieved many times before in open water. After catching a bunch, and losing a bunch to break-offs, the bite began to slow down. Jared caught the most snook under the bridge, because he was using 30lb-test and Anthony and I were using 40lb. Using lighter leader line is a trade-off, you will usually hook more fish, but if you hook a big fish, you'll wish you were using the heavier test.

My buddies headed in and I made my way to an area where I knew there would be plenty of Redfish feeding. When I got there I saw a huge school of big keeper size and over-slot redfish feeding on the surface. They were lined up in the lights like an army of horses facing the current. The round oval shape of their big heads and shoulders made these large ripples on the surface. Everything that came into the light was getting devoured within seconds. Snook we're mixed in with the reds; however, the reds were so aggressive that you couldn't get your bait to a snook, which is OK, because they fight HARD and taste even better!

Once I anchored up I waited a few seconds as they destroyed every bait flowing into the light. Then I grabbed a fresh lively shad, first cast, BAM, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

After an hour of catching redfish almost every cast I was physically tired and had two redfish in my kayak for an upcoming family dinner. I've got a night time kayak fishing charter tonight and we're going for reds.

Clearwater Kayak Fishing is on fire right now. To inquire about booking a kayak fishing charter contact me directly. I'm headed to my favorite Thai restaurant to have the redfish prepared with dipping sauces. Redfishing will continue to be good until the dreaded heat of June. Later in the summer I'll switch over to fishing exclusively for snook, tarpon, shark, and black drum. Fishing is good right now. Get out there!

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