What's hot: Mangrove snapper and grouper fishing the edges of the ships channel at the mouth of Tampa Bay have remained consistent. The rockiest and jagged edges of A, B and C Cuts on the inside of the Skyway out to the south end of Mullet Key west of the bridge have been most productive.
Bait: For mangos, bait is the key, and size matters. Too small will result in juveniles and other pesky bottom-dwellers picking them off. Too large likely will get you broken off by the grouper that are no match for the 20-pound mangrove snapper tackle. A 3-inch whitebait is preferred. Grouper have been chewing the bigger stuff, and grunts and pinfish are hard to beat. A few of our largest grouper lately — some caught, some not — have come to chunks of ladyfish and shad. Stout tackle is required.
What else: Scallop season is open until Sept. 24. Monday, we headed to Bayport. About a 7-mile run from the boat ramp north to Homosassa put us in the zone. Before noon, we had our 10-person, two-boat, 20-gallon limit. All that's required is a mask, snorkel, catch bag and fins. Gloves are optional but a good idea. Focusing on the low tide, we were 6-7 feet deep.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.