What's hot: Though I haven't targeted them yet, tarpon are cruising the light lines and tide rips at major bridges, including the Gandy and Skyway. Schools of giant black drum have been roaming the outer clam bar between Pinellas Point and the Skyway. Battling one of these 30- to 40-pound bulldogs on light tackle can be all you want because they will chew on about anything thrown in their path. Jigs, plugs, spoons and even cut bait can be productive. Sheepshead have begun using the ships channel inside the Skyway in preparation for their spawning ritual. Working the rock-laden edges with shrimp halves will keep the rods bent by an assortment of bottom dwellers that cohabit with the sheepshead. Cuts A, B and C have been most productive.
Best of the bunch: A variety of factors contributed to an exceptional mangrove snapper trip Tuesday: a strong incoming tide influenced by the new moon, a moonrise that began at about the same time the sun did, and water muddied a bit by windy and rainy conditions. We caught more than three dozen mangos and left them chewing in 45 feet 10 miles west of the Pass-a-Grille sea buoy.
Preferred baits: Many were caught on 3-inch whitebait with 20-pound tackle, 30-pound fluorocarbon leader, 2-ounce egg sinker and 1-ought hook. Many were fooled fly-lining live shrimp on light spin tackle drifting back in our chum line.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.