Afternoon thunderstorms might just be the change our fishing world has been looking for. Blistering hot water temps the past couple of weeks have led to a slow inshore bite. This week we cooled a couple of degrees after rain. Targeting the morning low incoming tide, we have seen steady action from trout, Spanish mackerel, jacks and some nice redfish. Set up along the outside edge of the flats on low water, then live chum and bring the fish behind the boat. Cast-netting live bait has been easy this week. Look for schools of small to medium pilchards holding in the swash channel along the beach. A quarter-inch mesh cast net is necessary to prevent gilling the smaller baits. Schools of large snook are all along the beach. Live grass grunts have produced giant snook. Free-line your bait down tide and let the cruising fish swim to you. Mangrove snapper remain the most consistent target and can be targeted all day as long as the tide is moving. Bridges, jetties and nearshore rubble piles are holding snapper. Use a frozen chum block and fresh-cut pilchards.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.