By Captain Brian Lemelin

Summer is upon us. With the increased temperature comes warmer water, storms, summer heat and targeting of different fish.

The heat of summer brings some new precautions. The sun can be brutal and if you’re not dressed properly and using sunscreen, the dangers are real. A sunburn is not only painful but can lead to skin cancers. The heat and humidity can also cause dehydration and heat exhaustion, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of liquid.

With summer comes storms, so make sure you have some good weather and radar apps to track them. We captains have a saying, “Fear the thunder, run from the lightning.” Bottom line is, using good judgement and common sense will allow you to enjoy the great summer fishing on Tampa Bay.

The fishing continues to be fantastic. Bait is all over the bay. Balls of threadfins can be seen everywhere. Whitebait is located at most towers and has also shown up on the grass flats. Nice-sized Spanish mackerel are following the bait. Cobia are still being found on markers and towers. My great friend Dale was able to double up on these two nice cobia on a recent trip.

Blacktip sharks are still in the bay and willing to take any bait you put out there. Dawn and dusk are the best time to hook up on this great fighting fish. They are easy to target and create great fishing tales.

Tarpon seem to be everywhere this year and in great numbers. We have landed 12 so far and haven’t even targeted them. If your goal is to catch a tarpon, this is the year to do it. The juveniles have also showed up and are eating first thing in the morning and just before dark.

Gag grouper opened up on June 1. Plenty of keepers are being caught right now. Here’s a picture of Yoseph with a nice 31 inches caught in 12 feet of water.

Snook and redfish are plentiful and being caught on every charter. Whitebait and cut bait are both working. Flounder are being caught on rubble piles and sandy bottoms on cuts.

Last but not least, the mangrove snapper have arrived in large numbers and are one of my favorite fish to eat in the bay. They will eat shrimp, whitebait and cut bait. Remember to chum them to get them eating. They have great eyesight, so go with the lightest leader possible, a small hook and bury the hook in the bait.

Stay healthy, stay safe and we’ll see you out on the water.

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