The key to this month is to fish in deeper water. With the water temperature stuck around 90 degrees, anything less than 5 feet will make for tough fishing. It is tough for the bait to survive when the water gets this hot. We lose all oxygen in the shallows, making fish move to deeper water. Now is the time to think outside the box. Mangrove snapper is the hot fish right now, and they love the small-fry bait that is all over St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay. Make sure to throw a quarter-inch net or you will be sorry. Mangrove snapper can be found in the shipping channels, bridges, channel markers and any structure that may have good moving water. It seems the faster the tide moves, the better the bite gets. A knocker rig works best. Use 30-pound fluorocarbon and a 1/0 hook. Start with 1 ounce of weight and slowly increase the weight as the tide moves faster. The key is to get the weight on the bottom then give the reel a crank. It is a quick bite, so be prepared to reel as soon as it hits the bottom. There are still plenty of tarpon around. They have been all over Egmont Key with the new moon. Look for them to continue to hold here for at least this week, unless the west wind runs them out. Crab or live threadfins has been the bait of choice.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.