The red tide has attacked the coastline again. Prepare for that wretched smell of dead fish along beaches with westwinds.
The first sign of this algae bloom was a few days ago at the Clearwater bell buoy. Schools of pilchards and pinfish were abundant and easy to jig up with the gold-hook rigs. Within minutes of the transfer to live wells, many baits started to twirl as if disorientated. Seconds later, all were dead. We had to rebait in untainted water about 10 miles from shore. When this happens, drain the live wells while running before reloading.
Fishing still is productive offshore. Grouper, barracuda and a few amberjacks can be landed around the wrecks in 100 feet. Action seems to be better during incoming tides.
Extremely close to shore, millions of juvenile Spanish sardines can be found, and we found a few tarpon feeding. Tossing in a pilchard or threadfin herring produced some big silver kings.
Live bait is the key for success during hot summer days, so monitor live wells for pesky microorganisms.
_ Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, or e-mail salesjawstoo.com.