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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: ruskin

Capt. Ray Markham’s West Central Florida Fishing Journal- September 18, 2013

by on Sep.18, 2013, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

I love this time of year for fishing. Fall fishing can be some of the most explosive fishing of the year from late September through the first several cool snaps that begin dropping water temperatures down into the low 70’s. Recent observed water temperature is around 87-degrees in the Gulf and slightly warmer inside the bays. But as fall settles upon us this weekend, the face of the Suncoast will begin to change.
Shorter days and longer nights will begin the cooling of the air and water temperatures. Cooler water means more dissolved oxygen in the water and fish will be invigorated by it. The extra energy to chase down a lure will be exhibited by fish crashing a top water lure or torpedoing a jig or spoon.
The next few weeks will be prime for the remaining snook that are spawning to begin their move back up rivers, creeks, and into backcountry areas where they will hang for the winter to try and ride out the cold spells. It’s an excellent time to target these fish for catch and release, since most fish caught will be out of the slot of 28-to 33-inches in length. Careful handling of these fish is a must for survival. While they are very hearty and have a low mortality rate for release, care needs to be given to these magnificent fish that will be released. I choose to fish artificial lures and for snook, I love fishing top waters like the big Top Dog from MirrOlure, CAL Jigs with Shad tails, or a DOA Shrimp.
Big fish move into our area over the next couple of months, and lots of them. Snook, trout, redfish, flounder and more, all looking to chow down and fatten up for the winter ahead.
From Sarasota Bay from East around Tidy Island and West to the entrance of Cannon’s Marina and North to Ruskin and along the South Shore of Tampa Bay, schools of redfish and balls of trout will hold in deep potholes and on channel edges on quick dropping negative tides around new and full moons. Throw CAL Jigs and Eppinger Rex Spoons for reds in the holes and channels. Up skinny on early mornings, you can find big trout hanging in the shallows to seek harborage from predators like dolphin. These fish love a finger mullet, and few imposters are better at mimicking these baitfish than the Shallow running DOA Baitbuster and the MirrOlure MirrOmullet XL. Excellent for quiet skinny water fishing, these unassuming presentations will create some surface explosions matched by few others.
I don’t know if it’s the seasonal change in the temperature or just the ‘feel’ in the air, but you can tell it. Every year at this time, I fall in love again with a feeling– it might be the change in ambient light at the close of a day,  the glow of the sunset, or the awakening of a new day with a cool morning’s sun peeking over the Eastern horizon. Whatever it is, it’s a definite change in the air that humbles me, makes me breathe and renews my zest to fall again for fishing.

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, Florida, specializing in fishing with artificial lures using light tackle spin, plug, and fly gear. A Florida native, he can be reached for charter at (941) 228-3474 or via his website at www.CaptainRayMarkham.com.

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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“It’s a Spring Thing”–Tampa Bay Fishing Report, March 17, 2011, from Capt. Ray Markham

by on Mar.20, 2011, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

Fishing in lower Tampa Bay in the Terra Ceia are has broken loose and at times has been crazy good!  Spring came early this year in the form of warmer air and water temperatures and an early arrival of baitfish.  Along with the baitfish, predators arrived to feed on them.  Everything from trout, redfish, flounder, bluefish, and Spanish mackerel have come to feed on the bait pods that hang over hard bottom or grass in Tampa Bay and in Terra Ceia.
Throwing the CAL Jig with shad tails, we’ve found a tremendous variety of fish.  We’ve caught trout pushing 28-inches in length.  Spanish mackerel have arrived in a big way, along with ladyfish and bluefish.  Surface action is picking up wherever glass minnows are schooling.  Water temperature in the bay have registered over 76 degrees late in the day on sunny days, which have made fish feed actively and often!
Redfish move around on air pressure changes.  This week we’re finding good numbers of reds in shallow water that are eating CAL Jigs with Shad tails, MirrOlure Lil’ Johns, and Eppinger Rex Spoons.
As we approach the full moon this weekend on the 19th, I’m looking for tarpon to begin gathering at the Skyway bridge.  We’ve already seen some but reports are getting more frequent which makes me think we’re in for a strong tarpon season ahead.  I’m currently booking tarpon trips along with my backcountry trips, so if tarpon are on your “bucket list” of things to do, give me a call and let’s go fishin’!  ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia and can be reached for charter at (941) 723-2655 home, (941) 228-3474 cell, or via email at flatback@tampabay.rr.com.

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Capt. Ray Markham’s Terra Ceia Bay- West Central Florida Fishing Journal- February 13-19, 2011

by on Feb.20, 2011, under Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

The weather lately has been unbeatable.  Fishing for February has followed suit.  Most days have been very productive with trout, redfish, and flounder in the catch with a few scattered black sea bass, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish also being caught in lower Tampa Bay and around the Terra Ceia Bay area.
Low tides bottoming out in the negative zones had redfish schooled up in small areas where anglers caught good numbers of fish.  Most redfish have been just under the slot with several per trip being in the slot.  The real surprise has been the numbers of flounder we have been catching on CAL Jigs with Shad tails, MirrOlure Lil’ John’s, and Love’s Lures.  These fish, while on the small side have provided plenty of action with numbers in the 20’s being landed.
Trout fishing has been good, and anglers looking for some fun can rig tandem jigs with curly tails from Love’s or DOA CAL with good success.  On the nice sunny days, winds have been low with some action in lower Tampa Bay on Spanish mackerel and bluefish.  Eppinger Rex spoons and Clark Caster spinner/spoon lures have been catching these fish.
This coming week’s weather will be near perfect for a continuation of some excellent fishing.  Water temperatures on the rise can only mean one thing….baitfish will be showing up in greater numbers very soon, and the action inshore will heat up to a boil!  Now’s the time to grab a rod and go fishing!  ‘Til then…I’ll catch ya later!

Capt. Ray Markham runs the Flat Back II out of Terra Ceia, and can be reached for charter at home (941) 723-2655, on cellular at (941) 228-3474, or via email at flatback@tampabay.rr.com.

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A Tribute to Love By Capt. Ray Markham

by on Feb.12, 2011, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore

When tiny glass minnows started showing up a couple of weeks ago in lower Tampa Bay, I theorized that they were a sign that we could be in for an early pelagic run with Spanish mackerel, kingfish, and cobia.  This week my theory proved correct when Paul Bristo, present owner of Love’s Lures, called to report catching some Spanish mackerel and silver trout at the end of the North Skyway Fishing Pier on Love‘s Lures Jigs.  But Paul’s call was not just another fishing report this time.
Back in the 70’s I found an incredibly effective tandem rigged jig combo for trout called the Love’s Lures Tandem rig.  It became a favorite of mine primarily for its effectiveness on trout.  Another long-time favorite was the Love’s Swimming Minnow, which in a single day I caught 17 different species of fish on the jig.  These were jigs manufactured by a local company in St. Petersburg, founded by retired school teacher, Bill Love.  Bill, and later his son, Steve built this small fishing lure company based around an array of fish-catching soft plastic baits that came to be known as Love’s Lures.
Over the years, I became friends with Bill and Steve and was proud to be a member of their Pro-Staff anglers helping them promote their line of lures.  But the solemn call from Paul today was to inform me that my long-time friend, Steve Love had passed away at the age of 54.  Steve was a big, soft-spoken teddy bear of a man, who always had a kind word.
Years after I first threw Love’s Lures a local radio fishing show called Tampa Bay Outdoors began, with host, Capt. Mel Berman.  Mel hopped aboard my boat for an introductory trip fishing Love’s Lures.  Later, Mel met Bill and Steve Love.  Steve and Mel were both avid football fans, and they soon struck up a friendship that carried over onto the air waves on numerous occasions when Mel had Steve on 970 WFLA as his co-host to talk fishing and football.
It’s been 38-years since the Loves first introduced St. Petersburg anglers to their lures, and the company has changed ownership a couple of times. Today I morn the loss of a long-time friend, Steve Love.  Fish on, Steve.  All your days will be perfect for fishing from now on.

Capt. Ray Markham can be reached for charter at (941) 723-2755 home, (941) 228-3474 cell, or via email at flatback@tampbay.rr.com.

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