What's hot: Extra large Spanish mackerel are patrolling the mouth of the bay. Look for hard-bottom areas surrounding Egmont Key. Many of these natural outcroppings of limestone, combined with sea fans, sponges and other live bottom features, are hosting a variety of other species, too — black sea bass, flounder and grouper have been landed in the same areas.
Techniques: First, listen to the bottom. The right type of structure is audible from the surface. Listen over the gunwale for sounds of crackling, sizzling bacon, which signal you are in the right place. Fish live baits free-lined on the surface without weight for the mackerel, and also drop weighted baits to the bottom for other species.
Larger targets: Sunday's full moon should have tarpon lined up in the same passes seeking crabs as they flush out of the bay on the afternoon outgoing tides. Drifting with the tide while presenting a lively crab on the surface could produce a fish of a lifetime this weekend.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.