Water temperatures have dropped with copious amounts of rain and above-normal winds being the culprit. With subtle weather changes, and a large influx of freshwater into Tampa Bay, fishing has been tricky. Finding fish and staying dry have been challenging. A much-anticipated break from the bad weather is supposedly on the way. Inshore gag grouper have been cooperative, and cooler water temperatures should keep them active. The Port Manatee channel all the way to the Skyway has had good numbers of the delectable bruisers. The edges of the channel cut into limestone are the best bet. The use of deep-diving lures is a good way to find fish. Trolling can be effective but also expensive as there are many snags, and those lures aren't cheap. After a hook-up on a plug, circle back and bottom drop to see if his buddies are there. Grouper tend to gather together and several can be pulled off the same spot with the right technique. Heavy spinning gear or conventional large reels will give you a chance. These structure dwellers know their surroundings and don't mind showing off their rocky homes. Simply put, you will get broken off fishing for grouper. The heavy rains should reactivate the flats. Reds and snook should be cooperative. Most mangrove shorelines have many turns and bends, inconsistent depths and the occasional oyster bar. Use caution when navigating new places for the first time, especially in murky water.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.