Intense heat, humidity and fishing spell out summertime
The humidity is up, the heat is intense and the fishing is following suit.
Whether inshore or offshore, there is plenty of productive fishing. Red grouper, snappers and permit are being caught around nearshore and offshore structure. Also in these areas are flounder, goliath grouper and shark.
Moving inshore is providing good action, too. Spotted seatrout can be found around deep grass flats during incoming tides. Expect also to hook into mackerel, ladyfish and even small blacktip sharks. Shallower flats are producing sizzling action on catch-and-release snook. Free-lined shiners in these areas are producing respectable numbers of linesiders. Sessions resulting in 30-40 snook are not uncommon.
On my Southernaire charters, I’m starting off in the morning targeting mangrove snapper. These fish are being taken around rocks and docks throughout southern Tampa Bay. On average I’m seeing a dozen or so fish in the box before the bites starts to slow down.
Once we have dinner in the cooler, I’m migrating to the flats to get in on the spotted seatrout bite. These fish are being found among the deeper grass during morning incoming tides. Live, free-lined shiners or shiners under a cork are working best as bait. Actually, most bites are occurring on the smaller-sized shiners — “hatch bait,” as we like to call it. Mixed in with the trout bite are Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and some small blacktip sharks.
Lastly, catch-and-release snook are abundant on some of the shallow grass flats in Tampa Bay. Free-lining shiners during swift moving tides is resulting in some phenomenal snook action. For these fish, the medium-to-large shiners are working best as bait. Most catches are 20-28 inches, with hook ups of as many as 25-30 fish on a morning trip.