Tactics: Small moves can pay off big this time of year. During winter, fish leave very cold water to find more moderate temperatures. During summer, they move to deeper water to get even a few degrees of relief. So locating that water can mean finding high concentrations of fish.
Bait: Catching scaled sardines, most anglers' preferred bait, has been tough lately in many parts of the bay. But there are options. Many markers in the bay hold good concentrations of threadfin herring, which can be caught with a cast net or Sabiki. Small pinfish also are an option when targeting redfish and big snook.
Faking it: When catching bait is not in your plans or proves unsuccessful, artificial lures have been producing well. The topwater action has been excellent in the early morning, especially on the flats when foraging for redfish and trout. Once the sun comes up, soft plastics have been the ticket. Use a one-eighth jig head and experiment with different soft plastic bodies and retrieves until you develop a productive pattern.
Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327 or CaptainMattSantiago@gmail.com or online at FishingGuideTampa.com.