Good month: Whether it is tarpon, snook, redfish, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper or shark, July will be exploding with action. Fry bait, which entices many predators into a feeding frenzy, is all over the bay. Be sure not to overstuff your livewell or you will lose some bait. The water temperature is getting into the upper 80s and the oxygen level is getting low in some of your favorite fishing spots.
Bait: Here are some ways to help you keep your bait in the best condition possible: Make sure all of your pumps are in good working condition. You may want to turn your recirculation pumps on when entering shallow water. You may also want to have an extra aerator you can drop into your well to add oxygen. I also will freeze a couple of 2-liter bottles of water to add to my bait well if the water is getting too hot. Never add ice to your bait well because when it melts, it is freshwater, not saltwater.
Snook: If snook are your target species, then make your way to the beaches. These fish are feeding pretty aggressively and you may be able to catch a monster. Not all big snook will move out. Some will stay inshore.
Trout: Trout are still being caught on your deeper grass patches. Look for them to pile up in about 7 feet of water. Use a slow retrieve to keep bait closer to the grass.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Contact him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.