On the edges: High winds over the past week afforded anglers only a few opportunities to get out on the bay. Fishing was a bit slower due to the high winds and barometric pressure. The bait has been very consistent on the flats as well as on several of the range markers between the Alafia River and Port Manatee. On the flats, snook and trout have been the hot ticket — both have been readily eating scaled sardines. Just remember to chum with your live bait to get the fish in the mood to eat. The redfish have still been a little scattered on the south shore but the outside bars have been holding decent numbers of redfish. Drifting both sides of the bars inside the 6-foot contour is a great way to use the wind to your advantage and put some fish in the boat. Fan casting with artificials is a great way to cover lots of water while drifting.
In the middle: The open water fishing in the bay has been very consistent as well when the winds are light. Spanish mackerel have been feeding relentlessly and are a great way to keep the rods bent all day.
Chumming dead and live baits around bottom structures and range markers will produce good mackerel action. A small piece of wire in front of your hook will definitely help to cut down on cutoffs. There are still some nice sized kingfish around as well.
The cobia fishing is also really starting to heat up. Even if spending a day searching for cobia is not your cup of tea, take a few extra minutes to stop by a few range markers and keep your eyes peeled for cruising fish.
Remember to check an accurate marine forecast before getting out on the water. Winds can pick up with little warning and can turn a calm day on the water into a dangerous situation.
Be safe and remember to take a kid fishing!