Get out at night: With good tides, the coolest water temperatures of the day and the lack of pressure, the nighttime bite is excellent. You often can start fishing where you launch your boat.
Docks: Focus on docks with underwater lights or good above-water lights. Baitfish, whose vision is poorer than that of larger prey, are drawn to the lights for safety and food. Often when you pull up to a light, you will see redfish, snook, trout and others in the light. But if you don't, do not skip it. It is common for larger and more wary predators to sit just outside the light waiting for a quick snack.
Shrink your offerings: What fish eat at night can surprise you. Once, I filled the well with hand-picked shrimp and 4-inch whitebait only to see them swim around in the "danger zone" while the fish I targeted ate tiny baits and almost krill-sized shrimp. The next night, I went out without bait, drove to the first light, netted the bait I saw on it and moved on. Instead of watching my baits swim nervously around fish that wanted nothing to do with them, I fought fish and took pictures. Be able to adapt. That is one of the differences between a good and great fisherman.
Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327 or [email protected] or online at FishingGuideTampa.com.