We have finally gotten to the time of year that we anglers get excited. The warmer temperatures are here, and this has ushered in some pretty good fishing. I have not fished in a lot of places around the country, but the few places I have fished were second fiddle to spring time in Tampa Bay.

This is the time of the year that the bait will start moving around and slipping up on the shallow water grass flats. It is also the time that a lot of fish start migrating out of the creeks, rivers, and canals and head to the grass flats. We will also see some of our fish move from the deeper water onto the grass flats. When the bait and the fish meet it is a collision that an angler loves to witness. Hopefully that collision is taking place at the end of your line and around your hook.

The next couple months should be good for snook, redfish, trout, and Spanish mackerel if you are fishing in the bay. If you are venturing out to fish around the coastline or offshore, you should have a good tarpon and kingfish experience. There are plenty of other species out there to target.

It is a great idea to know the legal aspects of your catch. The best thing to do if you are a novice and are trying your hand at fishing is to get a tide chart from a bait shop that has all the legal information that you will need on the back. Most bait shops have these and are more than willing to give you one at no charge. You will wish you had taken the time to stop and get one if you get caught with an illegal fish that you were not sure of.

Question of the month: “Which fish in the bay area can you thumb like a freshwater bass?” The term “thumb” means to stick your thumb in a fish’s mouth to hold it. I will not go through the whole list of fish in the bay area, but I will say that I usually only thumb snook. There are others that you can, but most of our fish have teeth and should be handled another way. I use a de-hooker 99 percent of the time on any fish. If you can keep from touching a fish, you are doing them a great service. Obviously I am not referring to fish you intend to keep for a meal.

Until next time, good luck and be safe on the water. Remember: Don’t let your kid be the one that got away, take them fishing. For charter information, call 601-2900, e-mail CaptainRic@msn.com, or visit www.ReelSimpleFishing.com.