What's hot: Experimenting with different species can turn a slow day on the flats into a stellar outing. Pompano, black drum, flounder and snapper bite when it is blazing hot outside. All are yummy on the dinner table and rarely targeted. Mangrove snapper are converting slow days in the shallows into a good fish fry. They can be found around almost any type of structure: docks, bridges and hard-bottom areas. They are notoriously sneaky and known to be expert bait stealers. So bring extra bait.
Tips: A chum block is a good investment. Fish will come from afar to see what the smell is about. Mackerel, snapper, sharks and an occasional cobia are just a few of the species that will get close. Scraping bridge pilings works for pompano chum. They feast on barnacles and small crabs. Never forget to properly dispose of remnant chum. A day or two in a boat hatch will cause a person to never repeat the mistake.
Updates: The Davis Islands boat ramp has been refurbished. The new ramp is a nice alternative to the Gandy, which can be a zoo on nice weekends.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.