Bait: While bait has been tough on the flats, it's plentiful once you find it. Most of it is on the markers dotting the shipping lanes inside the bay. Use a bottom machine to read the bait pods, and a 12-foot, extra-heavy net to get them in the deep water and swift current.
Flats: Redfish and snook are mingling in the same areas, ambushing pilchards as they slide in and around oyster bars and deep mangrove shorelines. Toss a few chummers to locate where the stalked ones are sitting and continue feeding them a few freebies to keep them interested.
Bay: Mackerel are still around as are silver trout on reefs and shoals. Smallish black-tip sharks are not only roaming the flats, they are thick on shoals and bars around the bay. Slice the tail off of a fresh live bait and freeline it out with the tide. It makes them irresistible. Tarpon have also moved up inside Tampa Bay. They can be seen in the lighted bridge pilings at night. The later you fish the better.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.