What's hot: Over the past few days, we have been fishing the outside of bars with a lot of success. The redfish and trout bites have been hot, with some nice snook mixed in. Before heading into the mangroves, stop on the bars that make up the outside of the flats and focus on fishing broken-bottom areas and large mullet schools. The higher parts of both tides have been the best time to fish lately. Also remember to check the solunar tables when you can't fish all day to make sure you are maximizing your catching potential.
Tactics: Drifting or using the trolling motor are great ways to cover a lot of water on the flats and big bars. Keep moving or drifting until you find a pocket of fish, and anchor your boat. Remember to chum and keep frisky baits on your hook. Whitebait and scaled sardines are plentiful all over the bay. A little chum and a good throw of the cast net should do the trick on almost any bay area flat. Fish them free-lined or under a cork on a size 1 to 2/0 circle hook. Remember to get enough to chum and fish with.
Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, CaptainMattSantiago@gmail.com and online at FishingGuideTampa.com.