What's hot: The new moon phase will likely increase an already hot tarpon bite. Particularly during the next few days, crabs will flow the thickest on the afternoon outgoing tide. Tarpon will gather at the Sunshine Skyway bridge and the passes on either side of Egmont Key to ambush the easy pickings.
A good flow of silverkings has been along the gulf beaches, and the new moon often brings out the best in those fish. Recent trips anchored in 12 to 15 feet, soaking fresh dead shad on the bottom, have produced multiple hookups. Though most of our success has been along Manatee County beaches, similar reports have come from Clearwater, Redington and St. Pete Beach. Land anglers on the Dubai pier at Redington Beach have reported outstanding action. They have had days with more than 20 hookups, and more on exceptional days.
Offshore activity: Red and mangrove snapper have dominated much of the bottom fishing activity in over 100 feet. We fished a section of the Pipeline in 115 feet on a trip last week. Along with our limit of American red snapper, we enticed a couple dozen mangos up to 5 pounds. A 20-pound mahi was among our by-catch.
Bait tips: Catching and caging bait the day before allowed us an early start, and having a variety was effective. Pinfish and whitebait were most productive, but mangos chewed halves of frozen sardines.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.