Cooler waters: Water temperatures have dropped by several degrees on the flats after the passage of our last tropical entity. Copious amounts of rain lately have rivers and creeks flowing at capacity into Tampa Bay, thus cooling things a bit. This is great news for anglers. After a string of nice days in a row, and the water settling down a bit, fishing has improved significantly since the recent storms.
What's hot: Mangrove snapper are really turning on the heat around areas of structure such as bridges and places with rock bottoms. They are tricky little rascals, but the fight is something else for a fish their size, not to mention they are equally as exciting on the dinner table. It is always a good idea to bring extra bait along when fishing for "mangs." You can burn through a bunch during a hot snapper bite.
Tip: With the passage of storms and eventual cold fronts, an easy and accurate wind check can be done from almost anywhere in Tampa Bay on a clear day. If the smoke from the stacks at the TECO Big Bend power plant in Apollo Beach is coming out at a 90 degree angle, go back to bed. If the smoke is going straight up, smooth sailing. The huge monoliths are way taller than any trees and therefore show what you can expect offshore as well.
Maintenance: Repair shops are relatively slow right now. It is a good time to fix things quickly, for we are rapidly approaching the fall fishing bonanza that we look forward to all year long.
Capt. Dave Walker charters out of Tampa Bay and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com.