Wither the weather: Summertime fishing in Tampa Bay can be tricky this time of year. Extreme heat and rain water add to the regular challenges of fishing. These factors alone change certain dynamics for our area, increasing the difficulty for consistent catches. There are other seasonal obstacles as well such as spawning bait fish and hot tub-like water temperatures.
Snapper: Mangrove snapper are thick around areas of structure. This has already been a great summer for "mangs." They are tricky fish, but boy are they delicious. They love the hot water and will bite all season long.
Tarpon: Tarpon are all over Hillsborough Bay. As a matter of fact, I saw three fish roll while driving along Bayshore Boulevard in the time it took me to drive from Gandy Boulevard to Howard Avenue. Tarpon are hanging around downtown by the Convention Center and Tampa General Hospital all the way to MacDill Air Force Base.
Tip: White hard plastic lures, or dead shad on the bottom, will offer good potential for a hook in murky waters. Good-sized live bait has been somewhat difficult to obtain though. It is spawning season for scaled sardines, and therefore, there are a new batch of little ones. An old dip net that only has the wire frame left is a useful tool in this situation. Simply hold the ring of your cast net and swish in a downward motion over "gilled" fish with the dip net. They will tumble out of the cast net easily and are still good bait and chum.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Contact him at (813) 310-6531 or via fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.