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Lethargic fish keep anglers on the move

The new moon tides should help inshore fishing. The summer heat has slowed the action the past week.

The high-water temperatures have the fish in a lethargic state in the middle of the day. They're venturing into the shallows with the incoming tides at night, which allows them to feed without being cooked by the sun.

For the best bet on catching numbers of fish in the middle of summer, try early morning, late night and late afternoon. Work shallow- and deep-water areas that have a good mix of rocks, grass and sand.

In the early morning and depending on the tides, try the shallow areas. As the sun gets higher, move to the deeper cuts, channels and rivers.

Fishing at night can be a lot of fun. Residential canals around lighted docks will make for the best action. Toss live baits into the lights. As the bait swims out, pick it up and do it again. Sometimes it takes 2-3 throws to get the right presentation.

Fishing in this type of situation, you should use heavier tackle and tighter drag to pull the bigger fish out of the pylons.

Snook fishing has remained consistent on the beaches. Catches in the 15-20-pound class have been the norm.

Honey Moon Island, Three Rooker Bar, Anclote Island and the sand bar north of Anclote are great spots. The most productive times are pre-dawn and late afternoon and into the night. Most anglers are using live bait, grunts, pinfish, pigfish, chubs and white bait.

Land lubbers who want to get in on this action can try Honey Moon Island. It may be a long trek to the north point for catch-and-release fishing, but it's all worth the trip if you fish around the moon and tides.

Tarpon are roaming the flats from Hudson to Clearwater, with the most consistent numbers being in front of Howard Park just south of the Anclote River. This area is known for heavy boat traffic as the day progresses, so you have to make your trip just before sunrise and fish until you can't stand the jet skis or the fish quit appearing.

Try throwing plugs and soft plastics in front of rolling fish, then let them sink for a second or two before starting your retrieve. This will allow the lure to sink in front of the tarpon. The fish you see rolling on the surface are not the only ones. There usually are 3-10 under or behind the rolling fish.

Trout and Spanish mackerel have been around the Hudson area in the deeper grass flats, 6-10 feet. Jigs and spoons will receive the best reactions. Use a chum bag to get things started, and keep your eyes open for cobia and small sharks. They can be a lot of fun on light tackle.

Offshore, the grouper action has been slow inside of 50 feet.You will have to go 70-100 to have some luck. The snapper bite has been better than the grouper bite.

Good numbers of fish have been coming to the boat caught on dead baits with lighter tackle.

Any area rock piles in 50 feet of water or more have been holding good numbers of amberjack. These brutes will put up a great fight. If you want to give them a try, use live pinfish and drop down a chum bag. It will help make them more enthused about eating.

If you have a question or comment, call Capt. Steve Bowler, Fish Tales Guide Svc. Inc., (727) 861-3474.