By Captain Brian Lemelin
I get super excited this time of year. The bait balls (threadfin herron, sardines, whitebait) have moved into the shipping channel and the fish are following. Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, false albacore and even breeder redfish are chasing the bait balls. It’s rodeo season, one of my favorite times of year.
I was once asked, why do you call it rodeo season? Well, I come from Lake Luzerne, New York, which is the largest dude ranch area east of the Mississippi. The rodeo is a big deal there and of course the riders have to ride for at least 8 seconds to register a good ride.
In rodeo fishing, we follow the birds that are diving into the bait balls. The water will be exploding with Spanish mackerel jumping out the water. Jack crevalle and false albacore will be boiling on the surface and occasionally giant breeder redfish will also be in the pile. It’s a beautiful sight to see.
Once we see the schools of fish, we head right towards them at high speed with the wind at our backs. About 40 yards from the school we put the boat in neutral (everybody has to hang on tight) and glide towards the bait ball. Everyone that’s casting towards the bait ball has about 8 seconds to hook onto a fish. The bait ball will move very quickly away from the boat, and the fish follow. Whoever is hooked up fights the fish to the boat. Once the fish is landed, it’s time to start the chase again and again.
This is nonstop action. Every client who has been on our charter rodeo fishing has said it’s the greatest time they have ever had fishing. All the pics attached are from rodeo fishing.
One other bonus of rodeo fishing in the heat of summer is the AC is always on as the boat is always moving. Though, even if you have boat legs, you will definitely be worn out by the end of the day.
So come on out into Tampa Bay and enjoy the rodeo.