What's hot: The water temperature on the flats during the falling tide on a recent trip was 90 degrees. Even our subtropical species tend to get a bit lethargic with water that warm. We found one willing redfish to eat in a deep pothole. But to have further success, we needed to find deeper, cooler water with good tidal flow. So I went out to the beach and fished around submerged rocks and jetties near the passes. We hooked redfish, snook and trout as well as a few mackerel, ladyfish and flounder. The action was better with the clean, deeper water. Once the tide turned to incoming, flats fishing improved with the slightly cooler, incoming water.
Tip: If wind prevents fishing on the outside, try the deeper drop-offs around the grass flats just inside the passes. You will find plenty of fish seeking some depth to escape the rising surface temperatures. Deep-water docks also offer shade for redfish, snook and other species. Cutbait pitched into the shade of a dock is a much easier meal for fish unwilling to chase live bait in the heat of the day.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 or through his website at captbrian.com.