Tips: Anglers must be versatile at this time of year for consistent catches. Utilizing different species can turn a slow day on the flats into a stellar outing. Fish such as pompano, black drum, mackerel, flounder and snapper all bite well when it is blazing hot outside. All are yummy on the dinner table and are rarely targeted. The deployment of a chum block will enhance the bite as fish come from afar, lured by the smell.
What's hot: Spanish mackerel are literally chewing their way all over Tampa Bay. The toothy treats love to hang around range markers and area bridges and can be caught using a variety of baits. Macks up to 6 pounds are being caught from the Skyway to downtown Tampa. This is one of the best mackerel seasons in recent memory. The fish are basically everywhere in areas with clean deep water. Spanish mackerel can also be caught in more shallow water, where areas of deep sea grass or hard bottom are found.
Changes: The Davis Islands boat ramp is scheduled for repairs, and will be closed for a while. Improvements to the ramp and adjacent dog park are planned. That ramp is a nice alternative to the Gandy, which can be a zoo on any nice weekend. The Alafia River is close as well as spots like the "kitchen" and Bullfrog Creek. There are many underutilized fishing opportunities in that area.
Capt. Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813) 310-6531 or at snookfish.com.