The key to a successful trip this month is to fish in deeper water. With water temperatures stuck around 90, anything less than 5 feet means tough fishing. It’s hard for bait to survive when water gets that hot. We lose all oxygen in the shallows, so fish move to deeper water. Now is the time to think outside of the box. Mangrove snapper are the hot fish, and they love the small fry bait that’s all over St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay. Throw a quarter-inch net. Mangrove snapper are in the shipping channels, bridges, channel markers and any structure that might have good moving water. It seems the faster the tide, the better the bite gets. A knocker rig works best. Use 30-pound fluorocarbon and a 1/0 hook. Start with a 1-ounce weight and slowly increase it as the tide moves faster. The key is to get the weight on the bottom, then give the reel a crank. It’s a quick bite, so be prepared to reel as soon as it hits bottom. Fish for snook and redfish first thing in the morning. By 9 the shallow water is nearly unfishable. Look for good moving water and you’ll find fish that want to eat. The bait is pretty small, so use a cork to get it in the strike zone.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.