Water temperatures are continuing to warm, as we are now in late spring, and we are definitely approaching the sweltering summer season.
What's hot: Just about anything that swims is going crazy now. Multiple species are filling their bellies with abundant forage, fish or anything else that looks appealing. Spanish mackerel are stealing the show. From the Sunshine Skyway all the way to downtown Tampa, they can be found in good numbers. On a recent trip, we caught plenty of nice macks in the channel next to Harbour Island. We were literally in the middle of a big city catching them one after another. Reds are cooperating nicely from Pendola Point all the way to Ruskin. The "kitchen" area around the Alafia has been holding nice schools of slot reds. Be careful operating your boat there. The oyster bars are very unforgiving on propellers.
Caution: Heat exhaustion is a reality now that it's getting hot, and it should be taken seriously. The common symptoms are irritability and dizziness. If you feel this way, cool down immediately. It progresses to the next stage quickly.
Finally: Baitfish have returned to almost all of Tampa Bay. Scaled sardines and threadfins are plentiful around any range marker or on the grass flats. The use of these live offerings as bait helps prevent small fish and can be absolutely deadly on the big ones.
Captain Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx or (813) 310-6531.