The stifling heat of late July is an interesting and challenging time of year for fishing in Tampa Bay. Seasonal fish and weather changes tend to keep anglers on their toes.
What's hot: Spanish mackerel have hung around in the lower bay but moved away from the northern end of Tampa Bay. Areas of deep sea grass or shallow hard bottom are where a majority of them are being caught. Nice big ones, up to 5 pounds, are not uncommon. Not only will they challenge a drag system, but they'll overlap most conventional broiling pans.
Tactics: This is the time of year when if the fishing is slow, you might want to move to a different spot or pack it up all together. It can be feast or famine. Usually, moving to a different spot can at least offer some heat relief.
Tackle: Now that cobia are on the scene, a rod rigged specifically for larger fish should come along on all trips. Cobia as well as other fish often will appear for just a moment, so a quick reaction and the proper equipment must be in play to seize an opportunity. Patience and lots of sunblock will help carry fishermen over until the cooling winds of fall arrive.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531, snookfish.com or firstname.lastname@example.org