What's hot: Snook are chewing on pilchards on mangrove points and deep shorelines. They are tidal dependent because they are ambush predators, so find a shoreline with good water flow and snook should be there. Redfish are mixed in with mullet and eating dead offerings more than live. Cut ladyfish and mullet are top choices; pinfish are a close third. Deploy the baits into the mullet schools and wait. Trout are on fire, with many 20-25 inches. These lengths are breeders and should be released to improve our stocks. My best luck has been on the vast grass flats of the north part of the bay. Good flow is a must or the bite will be off.
What else: Cobia and Spanish mackerel have made their way up into the farthest reaches of Tampa Bay. Start at the tripods and cans along the channel to score a big cobia. Look for schools of bait raining down to help locate the Spanish mackerel. Tarpon are beginning to make their presence known. The big push should be here any time. Bridges are a good bet on an incoming tide. Free-lining large sardines or threadfin herring on the backside of the pilings is a great way to start.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or [email protected].com.