What's hot: Large flounder have shown up recently on natural hard-bottom areas throughout the bay. Most have been enticed by small live baits fished on the bottom with knocker-style rigs. Sea bass, lane snapper and silver trout are among the other species occupying the same limestone outcroppings. It has been necessary to work through numerous undersized bass and snapper to land a few keepers.
Summer surprise: Trout fishing has been surprisingly good, perhaps in part because of daily rain that keeps the water temperatures a little cooler. Typically, July is not known for good trout fishing, but quality-sized fish have been coming from grass beds about 6 feet deep in southern Pinellas County.
More options: The opening of gag grouper season seems to have coincided with a string of windy, stormy days, making an offshore run a little sketchy for most anglers. The good news is there are plenty of grouper in the bay and with a short run to the shipping channel and back you can beat the weather and return with a fresh grouper sandwich for lunch.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (727)510-1009.