Storm warnings: The weather has been the hot topic, with Tropical Storm Fay stirring up the water all around the state. Several guide trips were canceled due to storm warnings posted earlier in the week. Having spent more than seven years in the U.S. Coast Guard and countless hours on search-and-rescue missions, I know it is not safe on the water with any kind of storm warnings. I use this time to conduct maintenance on all of my rods, reels, trailer and boat. I put new line on the reels, grease the bearings on my trailer and take care of any scheduled maintenance on my outboard.
When it clears: When the storm moves on, the water is usually murky. Instead of trying to find schools of redfish in water I cannot see in, I fish around one of the bay area bridges. Pompano, cobia, tarpon, mangrove snapper, black drum and sharks are some of the species that can be targeted around the pilings. I start by loading the well with pinfish, mullet, ladyfish, jack crevalles and a chum block. I drop a free-lined pinfish on a rod rigged with heavy wire and a large hook. The chum block helps lure just about anything in the area. Larger baits attract the larger sharks. To mix up the fishing, I throw yellow Goofy jigs around the bridge pilings. I keep the motor running and start casting right next to the structure. Let the jig fall, then snap it and let the jig fall again. When you snap the jig up, that is when you usually set the hook on whatever hits the jig. It is amazing what you catch on that little yellow jig.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.