What's hot: Tidal flow has been the key to success this summer. The water is usually cooler on the incoming tide and the early morning bite has been best. Overcast days have also helped keep water temperatures down. Trout have really hit well in moving water. Deeper edges of grass flats have produced dozens of fish. Polarized glasses will help you identify the line between grass and sand. Sandy potholes have held the majority of keeper-size trout. Larger sardines get the larger fish, while small baits attract many smaller fish competing for the meal. Ladyfish are very common lately, as well as Spanish mackerel.
Tip: The high midday sun can slow the bite even with a good moving tide. I often focus on deeper waters around the passes and jetties, finding snook, redfish and large flounder. Nearshore artificial reefs can save the day when the inshore bite dies. Always be prepared to change gears and have the right tackle available to target fish in these areas. There have been plenty of gag grouper within 3 miles of shore this season.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.