What's hot: The recent warm weather and light east winds nudged inshore water temperatures into the high 60s and low 70s. These conditions are similar to early spring and fish have responded accordingly. Inshore, redfish and trout have fed aggressively on arriving sardines. Live-bait chumming in shallow flats, where the water has been warmest, is producing good numbers of big trout with redfish mixed in. There have been large schools on the move, so once you find an area, chumming it keeps them in range. Offshore, grouper and snapper have remained on a strong bite, and Spanish mackerel and kingfish have shown up as well. Most action has been from 45 to 75 feet over rocks and ledges. Large pinfish have accounted for the biggest grouper and a free-lined sardine on the surface, while bottom fishing will produce mackerel in the same areas.
Tips: Thursday brings several regulation changes for bottom fishing in state and federal gulf waters. See the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Web site at myfwc.com/whatsnew/08/statewide/News_08_X_GulfGrprNew.htm or go to myfwc.com and follow the "newsroom" link on the left side of the home page.
Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.