What's hot: Several days of consistent weather have finally allowed for family trips. Fishing submerged rocky structures in protected water with live shrimp on light knocker rigs has produced sheepshead, mangrove snapper, flounder, sea bass and more. While many catches have been slightly undersized, so have my anglers. This has provided opportunities to show them characteristics of each species and how to handle and release them.
Tactics: Older children have enjoyed using artificial lures. Drifting across grass beds in 4-6 feet while casting soft, plastic jigs has produced trout, flounder, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish and amberjack. Concentrate on areas with scattered sandy depressions and deeper drop-off edges. Lures can be worked a little quicker with a more erratic presentation than in colder weather.
Tip: Multiple reports of Spanish mackerel in the bay are an indicator of warming fishing patterns.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at email@example.com and (727) 510-1009.