Conditions: Heavy rainfall means the rivers are pushing a lot of fresh water into Tampa Bay. This is not a bad thing as several species love the heat relief.
What's hot: Mangrove snapper and redfish are the most cooperative species right now. On a recent trip, both species hit shrimp and live sardines.
Tip: Tannic acid is the byproduct of plant decomposition, and it's also responsible for the amber color of the water. It becomes really noticeable in the bay when it rains heavy for several days in a row. Fishing in stained water requires versatility when using artificial lures. Colors look different to fish at different depths; this is especially true when the water has a "river" or tea-colored look. Try an array of color schemes until something works.
Advice: For the frugal boat angler without a Bimini top or any built-in shade, try a makeshift T-top. Picnic table-type umbrellas will fit into most rod holders, and they easily can be put up and taken down quickly for traveling between spots. It might not be fancy, but I'll take the shade option every time.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa Bay and can be reached at (813) 310-6531.