Bait has flooded every flat in Tampa Bay. The bite is stabilizing as we near summer. Most fish are in their summer spots, so look there first. Snook are eating sardines, fattening up and loading up on oils to float their eggs. They are hanging out on points with good flow and adjacent potholes. They are not always in the trees. Chum heavy to get them going. Taper off the chum once the bite begins. Trout and redfish are scattered around on the flats within 30 yards of the trees. Look for mullet and other fish there. Chum lightly as these fish are extremely suspicious of bait raining from the sky. Dead baits are often a good choice to get the fish on the line. Let the cut baits sit so the fish can hone in on them. Spanish mackerel are thick around the bait schools in the bay. They're also on the shoals and wrecks that are all over the bay. A long shank hook and 40-pound leader are a must to prevent cutoffs of kingfish along with the occasional cobia.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or [email protected]swiftfishcharters.com.