Tide: The summer heat is here and the kids are out of school and wanting to catch some fish. What do you look for? The first thing I look at is the tide chart to see if we have a good tide. Tampa Bay is one of four places in the world where you can have four-tide day, and the best time to fish is often when the tide is coming in or going out.
Time: I also look at the time of day. In the summer months, I like the early morning or early evening because those are the coolest times of the day. The fish on the flats move to deeper holes on the flat, or they move off of it.
Place: Weedon Island. Picnic Island and Simmons Park are among my favorites. All those areas have a place for the snook, redfish, and trout to move up on or off the flats. The artificial reefs in the bay are great for snapper, grouper, and Spanish mackerel.
Tips: When fishing for Spanish mackerel, I use a 30- to 50-pound mono leader to increase the strength of the fishing line and a larger, 3/0 2x long shank hook for more bite. I prefer a sardine bait for the mackerel. For other fish like snook and redfish, use cut bait like ladyfish or threadfins in the pot holes on the bottom.
Capt Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.