The gulf water temperature has been hovering near 90 degrees, and most species have moved to the cooler depths of 100 feet of water or more offshore. Inshore game fish have also moved away from the shallower areas to find some relief from the heat.
Offshore: The grouper and snapper bites have remained strong in depths of 100 feet and out, along with some bites from pelagic species. Good catches of dolphin and tuna have been reported by those keeping a flat line out with a live bait while bottom fishing. Trolling has also been effective when weed lines have developed along current rips. If the weeds are in patches, do a quick drive by to inspect for bait, as predators are likely to be nearby.
Inshore: Early mornings and late afternoons will produce the best opportunities for snook, trout and redfish. Live bait has been the most productive, but topwater artificial lures have accounted for some good action during the low-light periods. Look for areas with good moving water, and stay away from the back bays with stagnant water. The water temperature in these area can go above 90 degrees during the hot part of the day. The low oxygen levels can make it nearly impossible to keep bait alive in a well.
Tip: Use adequate tackle to shorten fight times in this hot water. It helps ensure a healthy release for the fish you do not intend to keep.
Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.