What's hot: After a thunderstorm cools the air, residential dock lights attract a variety of species. Snook is my top target, but trout, redfish, jack crevalle, ladyfish and mangrove snapper hang around as well.
Tactics: Approach is important. If the outboard motor is running, fish will be spooked or not bite. I use a trolling motor on the lowest setting to get within range then quietly drop an anchor. Heavier braided line with a tighter drag helps if a fish runs for the pilings. Select-sized shrimp is the best bait.
What else: Beat the heat by tarpon fishing at night. Throw a cast net under a bridge light. A few throws should yield enough threadfins, scaled sardines and pinfish. I start by anchoring under the brightest light on the upcurrent side of the bridge. The anchor has a drop buoy attached, so I can throw the anchor line when a fish is hooked. Heavier tackle is needed to land the fish due to the bridge pilings. I use two rods, one with a float, one free-lined. I drop the baits back to the shadow line on the bridge and wait. When a fish bites, I start the motor, drop the buoy and hope the fish doesn't run me into the pilings.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.