Hot bait: In the summer, fresh dead bait may be the best bet for attracting fish. When bay waters have temperatures above 90 degrees, game fish become lethargic. They are as hungry as always but less willing to expend their energy chasing bait.
Getting results: Last week we fished the flats and estuaries of Bishop Harbor. From my tower I spotted a tight school of 100 snook on a flat in front of a point of mangroves. Snook feed best in a strong current, and we had a perfect outgoing tide. We drifted into the spot with the wind at our backs and quietly anchored off the snook. We cast live greenbacks on a free line. Nobody got a hit on the first few passes. I decided to throw live chummers into the school. Not one was hit. I put a small split shot on one of the free lines and hooked on a fresh dead bait. A 30-inch snook hammered it. We sat on that school for the next two hours and caught several big snook. The same technique works well for redfish, trout, Spanish mackerel, cobia, shark, grouper, snapper and flounder.
Joel Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Co. of Little Harbor Resort in Ruskin can be reached toll-free at 1-877-766-6566 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.