Let's be honest, catching inshore bait has been difficult lately. At best, it has been consistently inconsistent. One day the live well can be filled with a throw or two of the cast net, followed by the next day drawing a complete zero from the very same spot. Many popular bait stops have been void, making it necessary to always have a backup plan. The obvious solution is to switch to artificial lures for the day. Most of us have tackle trays full of imitations that don't get used very often because of our reliance on the real thing. The same species that are targeted with live bait can also be caught with artificial lures. Another option is a switch to frozen bait. Several trips have been saved recently with bags of leftover frozen threadfins that have been used as cut bait. Redfish, snook and trout all have eaten the cut offerings in the shallows around mangrove shorelines. In deeper, open parts of the bay, we've caught snapper, sea bass, flounder, Spanish mackerel and more while bottom fishing over natural limestone outcroppings.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (727) 510-1009.