By Travis Yaeckel
Hot Hot Hot! Summer is here and so is the heat. It’s time to start switching up the fishing patterns and techniques as the water temps increase. Inshore, the Snook and Redfish bite has slowed a little, but fishing the right tides and conditions can be very successful. In the bay, the Tarpon, Sharks, and Mackerel are on fire.
Plan your trips accordingly. For fishing the shallows, your best bet is to fish early morning and late afternoon. During the hotter parts of the day, fish a little deeper on the edges of the flats or out in the bay. The best Snook fishing will be on the higher tides along deep mangrove edges or high flow areas such as channels and passes. Redfish can be found in good numbers staged up in deeper potholes and troughs on low water and scattered under the mangroves on higher tides. Bait of choice is still live greenbacks, which can be found abundantly on most grass flats. If the bite is slow or the water isn’t moving, cut bait is the way to go. A moderate sized piece of any baitfish, mullet, ladyfish, or crab will produce quality fish. Take your time; patience is the key to fishing dead bait.
Tarpon fishing is in full swing around the gulf beaches and Skyway Bridge. Fishing is best during stronger outgoing tides. When fishing open water, approach ahead of a school of fish and throw live threadfin herring or small crab. While fishing on anchor, free-line a fresh cut threadfin amongst a generous chum slick for best results.
With the increased water temperature and abundance of bait, the sharks and mackerel can easily be found. Find the larger schools of threadfin herring on the surface, setup anchor, and begin chumming. Free-line smaller cut pieces of any baitfish or shrimp for mackerel and larger chunks on the bottom for sharks.
On a recent charter, I had the honor of meeting and guiding Tampa Bay Buccaneer Vincent Jackson in a local charity tournament. He made it look easy catching a few over-slot redfish within the first hour and we spent the rest of the day chasing down Snook and Trout and getting to know each other. Off the field, he is an avid fisherman and spends a lot of time running the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation that supports military families. Visit www.jacksoninaction83.com.