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Big Mangrove Snapper Hanging on Tampa Bay Wrecks

Capt. Jason Prieto of Steady Action Fishing Charters is hopeful for a great mangrove snapper bite by the time the July 16 full moon comes -- but that's not all he has been catching in the Westchase area and beyond

Capt. Jason Prieto of Steady Action Fishing Charters said some big mangrove snapper were in various wrecks in Tampa Bay Thursday, and he reported four of the six his clients kept were close to 20 inches.

With a July 16 full moon, Prieto is hopeful for a quality snapper bite. The full moon typically triggers a great mangrove snapper nighttime feed. Anglers can target them on he edges of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge shipping channel, as well as a lot of the wrecks inside Tampa Bay.

“There’s plenty of wrecks in the bay, and they can be thick on any kind of ledge on some good hard bottom," Prieto said.

Although the bait situation has been terrible from Sarasota to Clearwater – Prieto chugged Thursday from the Little Manatee River to Davis Island for five dozen greenbacks – cut can be used threadfins for a chum slick and shiners dropped with a small split shot or weight to the bottom. Prieto fished in about 20 feet of water Thursday for the mangos.

Anglers can keep five snapper daily at a minimum of 10 inches in total length. For more information on saltwater regulations visit the FWC recreational saltwater booklet on the FWC's website.

Also, Prieto said tarpon are “patchy” inside the bay, trout are hanging out on deeper, 4-to-6 foot grass flats, and a few schools of redfish have been in the South Shore area, but are not biting due to excessively hot water temperatures.

Finally, he said snook fishing has been decent on the flats.

“I haven’t targeted them too much, but we’re starting to see some decent numbers. Every year has been better.”

Capt. Jason Prieto can be reached at 813-727-9890. His website is www.steadyactionfishingcharters.com.

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