Moonlight feels right. The best way to beat the heat is to fish away from it. Nighttime is a great time to target an inshore slam. Snook, trout and redfish are all hanging out on the dock lights and ambushing small baits as they get lost in the light. Dazed and confused, the baits often look unsure of where to go as the snook, trout and redfish demolish school after school.
Cool tools. Gearing up for night fishing is fairly easy: 20-pound braid on a 40 series reel, and a medium heavy rod is as heavy as you need to go. Start with a 20-pound leader and go up if you are breaking off a lot. The green submerged lights offer the best shots at slams and a lot of them are off the docks. This makes for easier taming of the hooked fish.
Bait. I prefer the small white baits, regular shrimp or small pinfish. The predators are honed in on the small baits and they work perfectly. Artificial shrimp in the 2-inch size and glowing colors are great to fool an unsuspecting fish that is feeding well and will have its guard down. Fish it rigged on a circle hook or a weightless worm hook. Pitch it up current of the light and let it float through the light, a little slight twitch every now and then will adjust the bait in the water column and keep you in the strike zone.
Tarpons. On all the bridges as well as the bruiser black drum, you will find tarpons. Soak a crab for the drum or free line cut baits and live pilchards or pinfish to score on the tarpon.
Capt. Tim Whitfield can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 774-0889.