There were recent small-craft advisories and not much improvement since. Encouraging, however, is that adverse weather and falling water temperature have not run off bait, which is usually tough to get this time of year. The Skyway bridge, and a couple of tall range markers near it, continues to be dependable. On Thursday morning at Fort De Soto, despite dirty water, I observed bait at both fishing piers. Much of what I saw just under the surface was midsize whitebait. Mangrove snapper just don't want to quit. We've beefed up our leader material to 30-pound test. We're getting just as many bites and a few bigger ones. If you want to catch nearly everything that swims — including mangrove snapper, sheepshead, more grunts and an occasional hogfish — take along some shrimp.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.