What's hot: A wide variety of species are frequenting the deeper grass beds in lower Pinellas County. Spanish mackerel have been our primary target but bluefish, trout, small sharks and more have found our chum line and added to the excitement. Look for these deep grass beds scattered throughout the 5- to 6-foot range where shallower grass flat expanses taper off into deeper sand.
Technique: Begin by cast-netting as many scaled sardines and threadfin herring as your livewell can keep healthy. You will need extras as live chum enhances the bite. Anchor over the grass and deploy a frozen chum block to create a scent trail. Free-line the live baits without any weight on a very short length of light wire leader to avoid cut-offs from sharp teeth. Occasionally pitch a handful of live chummers into the mix to instigate a bite and keep the fish aggressively feeding.
Kids' education: The small sharks that have found our baits in the chum slick have provided excellent catch-and-release opportunities to teach children about the importance of sharks in our ecosystem. All sharks have been quickly released at boat side to ensure their health while teaching the children responsible angling conservation.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (727) 510-1009.