What's hot: Black sea bass have taken up residence inside the bay. Large concentrations are holding on natural hard-bottom areas consisting of scattered lime rock, sea fans, sponges and soft corals. The crackling sound of the live bottom is audible on the surface. Lean over the gunwale and listen for the sound of sizzling bacon to check if you are anchored over the right kind of bottom.
Rig right: Chunks of frozen squid are the easiest to use, but shrimp or fresh cut bait will also produce hits on every drop. Standard inshore 10-pound spinning gear is all that's needed. Use a knocker rig with a half-ounce egg sinker and 1/0 circle hook.
More action: Silver trout also have been mixed in with the sea bass and will take the same baits. Small lane snapper, undersized grouper, white grunts and the occasional small shark also have been feeding aggressively and providing excellent action for kids.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (727)510-1009.