What's hot: Oppressive heat and very high water temperatures have complicated fishing in Tampa Bay. Those who have endured the heat have been rewarded with decent catches of snapper. Range markers are a favorite hangout for snapper and many other species. Basically, any area with structure is a good place to look for summer snapper. The braided types of line are particularly useful in these locations, and game fish hangouts in general.
Tactics: Snapper are scrappy and will rip drag on most battles. Set the hook on the first indication of a strike because mangroves are notoriously sneaky and expert bait stealers. The first "tap" is usually your only chance. The second tap is them swimming away from a cleaned hook.
Tip: Slick water-surface conditions still prevail and offer fishermen great opportunity when spotting, feeding or cruising fish. Look for cobia when water is glassy. They can save the day when other species are slow. Smooth water enables surface fish to be seen for hundreds of yards.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com or e-mail [email protected]on.net.