What's hot: The higher tides of summer will flood mangrove shorelines, and many inshore game fish will use this prime time to feed heavily. Schools of redfish will push up into the trees and use the many pockets of roots to find crabs and small baitfish. Watch for tiny bait spraying along the bushes to reveal where the reds are hunting. An accurate cast deep under the mangroves is needed. A tail-hooked pinfish will swim into the shade and find trouble. Use heavier leader, such as 40-pound test, to pull the reds out of the cover.
The hard winter our coastline experienced dampened the spring snook bite. As summer has progressed, larger female snook have moved onto north Pinellas beaches. Work the outside of points on incoming tides while casting sardines or light-colored pumpkin bucktail jigs. Look for deeper swash channels that run parallel to the shoreline to find fish staged up on outgoing tides. These fish tend to feed more aggressively as the tide dumps out and runs stronger.
Bait: As summer goes on, bait can be difficult to catch. Work the deeper grass flats in 6-8 feet just inside major passes. This will bring in bigger bait at first light. Jack mackerel, corn meal and menhaden oil make a consistent mixture for chumming in bait.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 439-9017