The Fishing Line: Now is the time to catch dinner

Spring is here and the fishing is outstanding! Just ask Ross Burger. On a recent charter, he and his family caught a real feast.

We left the dock at Bay Pines in the morning and within minutes were fishing a large grass flat in eastern Boca Ciega Bay, targeting spotted sea trout during low tide. Using shrimp under a popping cork and jigging with a 1/8 ounce jig and motor oil colored shad tail, we caught 20-30 trout, some as big as 22 inches.

As the tide got higher, we moved to a spoil island near John’s Pass in search of big redfish. Using cut pinfish and ladyfish as bait, we slowly approached the island, careful not to spook the fish. Within minutes, we hooked a beautiful pair of large redfish, 30 and 32 inches.

Next, we went after mackerel in the same pass area using whole shrimp on a 1/8 jig head. Much fun was had by all as we caught and released dozens of mackerel, some in the 20-22 inch range.

As we boated from one fishing spot to the next, we took in the local wildlife, did some dolphin spotting, and I pointed out some of the area’s landmarks, like the place where the movie “Cocoon” was filmed and Babe Ruth’s former residence.
We ended the day targeting sheepshead around the docks and bridges southeast of John’s Pass using a 1/8 ounce jig head with a piece of cut shrimp. These fish are bait stealers, requiring some skill to set the hook as soon as you feel the bite. Again, we caught and released several good sized fish.

Of course, the perfect ending to a perfect day of fishing is eating your catch. I cleaned and filleted the fish and the Burger family took them to one of the many area restaurants that will cook your catch to order and serve it up with all the trimmings. It was a real feast of fish and fish stories about the ones that didn’t get away.

Call to book a charter with Captain Ted Nesti, 727-393-6129, or visit

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