What's hot: Strong outgoing tides this week due to the full moon have turned on all types of fish in Tampa Bay. Cobia can easily be chummed to the boat and are hungry and eager to take any offering in front of them. Tarpon, mangrove snapper and grouper are along the Sunshine Skyway fishing piers on the north and south sides. Dip netting for shrimp, pass crabs and blue crabs during the evening hours is at its best during the full-moon outgoing tides.
Techniques: Tarpon can be caught using live threadfins, scaled sardines or dead shad on the bottom. Mangrove snapper usually takes a small scaled sardine fished close to a piling on the bottom. Cobia will come drifting by looking for where the chum is coming from. Dip netting shrimp and crabs can be done from all of our bridges in the passes. Hang a lantern or use a spotlight and watch for the fishes' "lit-up" eyes floating through the pass in the weed line.
Tips: Most of this activity, especially dip netting the crabs and shrimp, should be done at night when the tide begins to go out. Incoming tides are not what you are looking for. When cast netting for bait, have a 5-gallon bucket close in which to put extra bait for chumming for cobia and tarpon. Cut the bait into small chunks and periodically toss it over. Don't feed the fish too much at a time; just keep a steady flow of chum.
Jackie Otto can be reached at Betts Fishing Center (727) 518-7637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.