What's hot: Inshore fishing in north Pinellas has been very good for late summer, particularly redfishing. There also have been plenty of spotted sea trout, bluefish and mackerel, and no shortage of sharks.
Bait tips: In July and August, usable scaled sardines become difficult to find. This year has been no exception, with loads of small minnows but limited bigger ones. We have had some success by looking away from traditional spots. In more than one odd location we found good bait that responded well to chumming. If the bait you want is not in your favorite spot, try the edges of grass flats closest to the open gulf. You might not see them at first, so sprinkle in a mix of cat food, jack mackerel and a dash of menhaden oil steadily in the tide. Use a quarter-inch mesh net to help keep juvenile baitfish from clogging things up.
Cobia alert: Keep an eye open for cobia inshore and offshore. We have had unusually good luck with them the past several weeks. Perhaps the largest we hooked on the flats emptied a snook reel of all its line before we could fire up the boat to chase it. Out on the reefs we limited out on cobia on consecutive trips with many in the 40-pound class.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.