The stifling heat of late July, this one especially, is an interesting and challenging time of the 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 have moved away from the northern end of Tampa Bay.
Areas of deep sea grass or shallow hard bottom, and spots adjacent to range markers, are where mackerel are being caught. Nice ones, up to 5 pounds are not uncommon. Ones that size will not only challenge a drag system, but the fillets will also overlap most conventional broiling pans.
Tactics: This is the time of year where if the fishing is slow, you might want to move to a different spot or pack it up. The dog days of summer can be feast or famine. Usually, moving to a different spot can at least offer some heat relief.
Tackle: Now that cobia have arrived, a rod rigged specifically for larger fish should be brought along on all summer trips.
Cobia as well as other fish will often appear for just a moment, so a quick reaction is necessary and the proper equipment must be on hand to seize this angling opportunity. Whether it be a school of feeding fish or a cruising cobia, the window for catching one is not open for long.
Patience and lots of sunblock will help carry anglers over until the cooling winds of fall arrive.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531, e-mail captdave firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.snookfish.com.