Summertime fishing sometimes requires extra patience. Being covered with sweat makes many want to go to another spot. It is a tempting idea, especially when the bite is slow, but even in the heat, snook, snapper and cobia are cooperating.
What's hot: Snook are still blasting live baits. Areas on the edges of mangroves that have good water movement are a favorite staging area for snook. Area bridges at night have been providing mind-blowing fishing. Live shrimp are a favorite nighttime snook bait. Snapper are everywhere that has a structure and moving water. Artificial reefs and natural hard bottom cut into the sides of the shipping channels have been mangs havens. The new hatch of baitfish are ideal treats for mangrove snapper. They are small enough for them to whack in one sweep.
Tip: Use a small meshed cast net this time of year. The bait on the flats in Tampa Bay will wreck a three-eighths mesh cast net. The Christmas tree effect is caused when the baitfish get halfway through the net and get stuck. The only way to clear it is to shake the net and watch the bait fly everywhere. Having a choice of nets is a wonderful asset as well as a time- and resource-saving tactic.
Equipment: Now that cobia are appearing regularly, it is a good idea to bring along one rod that is a bit beefier than normal. When bowed up with a nice cobia, you want all of the advantages you can get. A long-handled gaff is a big help as well. These bruisers will shoot right through most landing nets and are famous for going ballistic when they hit the deck.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at snookfish.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 310-6531.