Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Landlubber | Rick Frazier

Landlubber: Wade to drop-offs for big rewards

Sarah Parker of Tierra Verde holds a large speckled trout she caught in Tampa Bay on July 14 using a whitebait under a float.

RICK FRAZIER | Special to the Times

Sarah Parker of Tierra Verde holds a large speckled trout she caught in Tampa Bay on July 14 using a whitebait under a float.

Even as the water temperature reaches the upper 80s, fish are still active and willing to bite.

Speckled trout action is hot early in the morning when the sun is still low in the sky.

Surprisingly, even big yellow-mouth gator trout are willing participants this summer. Right now, it's not unusual to catch your limit of "specks" as long as you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

One is to target the deep drop-off areas of the grass flats instead of being up on the flat itself. The water at the drop-off will have a little better flow and be a tad cooler since it is deeper.

If you like to use artificial lures for trout, then throw a surface walker such as MirrOlure Top Dog or the old standby, the Zara Spook. Try natural color patterns with these lures, but don't overlook the Tampa Bay favorite red head and white body.

Light, one-eighth-ounce jigs or lighter, dressed with one of those stinky tails such as the Assassin Blurp or Berkley Gulp, will work for these summer trout, too. Remember to keep the jig in contact with the bottom by creeping it along, creating small puffs of sand. Try the new penny or shiny penny color pattern.

Trout will not overlook a corked whitebait or shrimp. Just be prepared to go through a ton because the pinfish are ravenous, and you will have to weed through them to get the trout.

Mangrove snapper haven't been affected by the heat, and they're abundant now. Beach feeder bridges and local piers are favorite hangouts.

Use a live bait snapper rig, which is just a double-drop rig, to get your limit. Apply the lightest weight possible on your rig to keep the bait in contact with the bottom. Try to target both sides of the tide change because the current will be the slowest and it will be easier to keep your bait down.

Small whitebait is the best bet for mangrove snapper if you can get them. If not, live shrimp will work, too. Cut squid is a last resort if the other two are impossible to get.

Catch-and-release snook is at its peak. One of the best places now is Clearwater's Pier 60. Go after sunset and work the pier light shadows with a free-lined pinfish, greenback, grunt, or scaled sardine.

If you're looking for a little more subdued snook action, walk the beach and work the trough with a gold spoon or suspending twitchbait.

Another summertime favorite is cobia. They are being caught off the Skyway piers. Look for them swimming around the pilings and scattering the greenbacks. Put your pinfish or greenback offering right in front of their nose. Be prepared for a 20-minute fight and have a buddy ready with a hoop net to bring it over the rail.

Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376. If you've had a great day fishing from land and want to share it with readers, contact the lubberline at (727) 893-8775 or e-mail

Landlubber: Wade to drop-offs for big rewards 07/31/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2008 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.