What's hot: Water temperature is important this time of year. To keep baits alive anglers need to adjust if fishing warmer shallow water. Most of the baits netted in deeper waters around bridges will not stay alive when moved onto the shallow flats. The water temperature in the deep areas where the baits are hanging is in the mid 80s. On the flats, the water temperature is in the 90s. To keep the baits alive, place jugs of frozen water in the live well to bring the water temperature down.
Tips: This time of year we have a run of spawn moving from the upper parts of the bay and out to the passes. They are great baits for mackerel, trout and bluefish. The trick to catching the spawn is to use a ¼-inch mesh net. When you see bait that looks like rain hitting the water, cast the net on the edge of the bait so you won't catch a full net of snagged bait to clean up. If you bring in the net and the baits are large enough to not be snagged, recast into the middle of the school and load the live well. When the well is full, dump six to eight 5-gallon buckets of water in to help keep the baits alive. Most of the fish anglers will want to target will be over the grass that's in 6 feet of water.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.