The availability of baitfish has broadened our target species selection for this time of year. Typically, we would be limited to sheepshead, some larger trout and possibly small redfish. That's not the case this year. We've recently added Spanish mackerel, snapper, black sea bass, blue fish, flounder and more to the inshore playlist. Heavy winds have kept offshore runs in check. Carrying a variety of bait has led to a mixed bag of catches. On any given day I'll have live shrimp, frozen squid, a gallon resealable bag of leftover frozen bait from a previous trip, live scaled sardines, threadfins, along with a few small pinfish on board. One trick I use to keep the live shrimp separated from the minnows in the recirculating well is to keep them in a small bait pail with extra holes drilled in it. This makes finding the shrimp easy in a large well instead of digging through a scoop of mixed bait. My most successful trips this week have been for sea bass holding on low-profile natural limestone hard bottom and snapper on high-profile man-made structures inside the bay.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at email@example.com and (727) 510-1009.