What's hot: Water temperature. This time of year fishing can be tough when the water on the shallow grass flats reaches 90 degrees. Bites will be few and far between. Fish are like us; they are more active when it's cool.
Tactics: Forget sleeping until 9 and getting in a couple hours of fishing before noon. If you're interested in taking fish home for dinner, better be on the water by 6 a.m. and be going home by 9 a.m. Save sleeping in until a day when chores need to be done around the house. On the other end of the spectrum, try fishing from 6 p.m. to dark. Most locals forgo fishing completely during daylight hours now. They claim fishing is much better, which it can be. The only problem is seeing, especially when it comes to casting. Depth of field changes dramatically and it's not hard to get hung on a dock, branch or some other piece of structure. Fishing is also better after a heavy rainfall or a thunderstorm moves through. The cool rain will drop the water temperature by a degree or two, sending most fish into a feeding frenzy.
Pro's pointer: Freeze gallon jugs of water to put in the live well to keep the bait cool. They'll be more frisky, and one frisky sardine is better than a well full of lethargic ones.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 510-4376.