What's hot: With the summer spawn of sardines along the beaches, many gamefish take advantage of the feeding opportunity from these large schools of fry bait. Find these dense bait schools by looking for diving birds of all sizes crashing the waters seeking a meal. Often, smaller white bucktails work well as anglers are "matching the hatch" to catch various fish. Along the beaches, mackerel and snook will work the bait that holds along the swash channels. Watch for the fry bait to spray up as the predators charge under and through the school to capture the prey. Most snook will be smaller males, with an occasional 15-pounder. Good numbers are being caught from Clearwater Beach to Anclote Island on incoming tides. Rock structures near the passes are covered with mackerel early in the morning. On grass flats inside passes, look for larger trout up to 22 inches to work the smaller sardine schools. Freeline a medium belly-hooked bait among the clouds of minnows for the next couple of weeks.
Shark month: On the grass flats inside Honeymoon and Three Rooker Bar, small black tip sharks are everywhere as the tide floods. Use 30-pound leader with a silver long shank hook. Place a chum bag over the side to attract these 2- to 3-footers.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at [email protected]