What's hot: Deeper grass beds are holding a variety of fish. Setting up a chum slick while anchored has brought Spanish mackerel, trout, flounder, bluefish, small sharks, ladyfish, jacks and small snapper. Begin by hanging a frozen chum block off the transom and supplement the slick with an occasional handful of live baits. Live baits should be fished free-line without weight. Use a short length of wire ahead of the hook to prevent cutoffs from sharp teeth.
In the shallows: When the water temperature soars in mid summer, very few fish stay on the shallow flats. The exception is redfish. Search for reds on higher stages of the tide around spoil islands or mangrove shorelines. Redfish seldom turn down fresh cutbait sitting on the bottom. Put a spread of baits out and let the fish find them naturally with their nose.
Catfish rule: I have a three-catfish rule. If we catch three catfish in a row without catching a redfish, we move. If we catch an occasional cat while also catching reds it is tolerated as a nuisance of summer. Surprisingly, when redfish are actively feeding in an area we catch few catfish on the cutbait.
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.