What's hot: The redfish fishing in the bay has been good around Weedon Island, along the 4th Street flats and at the Old Safety Harbor Power Plant oyster bars, especially on the end of the outgoing tide and the beginning of the incoming tide. If you use live bait, try anchoring up-current of the potholes and chum with live sardines. Or try sight casting with fly or spinning gear from the front of a skiff or flats boat. The bait of choice is a weedless jerk bait or a gold spoon. As for a fly, a crab pattern will work.
Snook: The snook will stay on the outside of the passes and creeks for a few more weeks, but their biological clock soon will send them to the back country and up the creeks. Use a live sardine or shrimp, but as the water cools at night, a top water plug early in the morning is a great way to fish for snook. As the sun rises, try switching over to a jerk bait or a twitch bait.
Full moon: The full moon next week means tarpon will move down the beaches and make their way out of the bay. In the early morning hours, look for rolling tarpon and use your trolling motor to get your boat set up. Cast your favorite bait 10 feet ahead of the school so it will drift down to them. Drift the tide lines with your engine off.
Tips: Using the proper equipment is very important, from the rod to the hook. Use a 7- to 8-foot rod with a light tip and a lot of backbone so you can cast a small bait. You should load your reel with plenty of 50-pound braided line, with a 40- to 60-pound fluorocarbon leader and a 3/0 to a 6/0 circle hook.
Capt. Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 917-4989.