Seasonal: Memorial Day marks the "official" beginning of summer and the boating season. Fishing has been tricky lately, but it is still nice to go out before conditions become unbearable. Be careful of heat exhaustion and hydrate thoroughly. The first symptoms are nausea and irritability. Cool off quickly.
What's hot: Mackerel are still chewing their way through Tampa Bay. Big ones, up to 6 pounds, are ripping drags from the Skyway to the Gandy. Large schools of threadfins visible from the surface indicate probable activity.
Tip: When fishing or boating on a busy holiday weekend, get to the boat ramp a little later than the dawn-patrol crowd. It is much easier and less frustrating without a hoard of eager anglers scrambling for the next available open stall. Then return in the early afternoon before everyone wants to get to air conditioning and a shower.
Tactics: On weekends or traditionally busy holidays, my strategy is to fish where the boats aren't. Being versatile is a must for summer. On a recent trip, we tried desperately for reds, but they were not cooperative. We changed gears, went a bit south and found a good batch of mackerel to save the day.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531, email [email protected] or visit snookfish.com.