During the late summer the action is along the beaches of coastal barrier islands from Clearwater to Anclote Key. The bait fish are starting to school in the surf along the beaches on the west side of the barrier islands and are attracting all types of game fish. On a recent trip we caught and observed several types of fish along the west side of Anclote key such as snook, redfish, ladyfish, jacks, sharks, cobia and tarpon. Some of the fish are not much for table fare, but they can make up for it with a lot of action.
Bait: We were able to catch several of these species in just a few hours. We caught several with artificial baits and some on live white bait. The jacks and ladyfish were the most abundant, but we did catch a snook, some redfish and a black-tip shark.
Where to look: Most of the game fish were near the schools of bait fish. You can locate the schools of bait by looking for the birds diving on them. Some of the bait was in very shallow water; some was in 3-4 feet. You may also observe the game fish crashing through the schools of bait fish. The trick is to use the same size bait that the game fish are feeding on,as some call it "match the hatch."
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.