By: Captain Danny Guarino
Summer’s heat and a few Thunderstorms will have a direct impact on the times we go fishing. I usually start a little earlier in the day and finish before the afternoon storms roll across the state. This keeps me dry, a little cooler and I do avoid the lighting strikes that come with the afternoon boomers. Snook, trout redfish and mackerel are great species to target in the summer months but you must be patient. With water temperatures in the mid 80’s to the lower 90’s the bite can be a little slow.
The snook bite has been consistent throughout June and I see no reason for that to change. This is the time of year snook spawn and becomes a bit harder to catch. Try fishing areas around spoil islands that dot Tampa Bay. Snook will typically frequent the edge of a shallow area where it drops off to deeper water or along the beaches near deeper passes. The snook spawn will start to wind down towards the end of July and snook will begin their migration back to the grass flats and barrier island passes.
The trout bite has been relatively slow this past month, and I would expect that trend to continue throughout the summer. Look for trout in the deeper flats and around deeper structure where the water will be a little cooler. I also expect to see smaller trout as we head into the deep summer patterns. Shrimp or sardines will be the bait of choice. Try fishing trout on some of the shallower rock piles located in the open bay waters with a depth of 6 to 12 feet. You just might be surprised and find trout in spots you would not thank of as being a trout spot.
The Southshore’s grass flats should be holding schools of Redfish; however, June was somewhat of a disappointment and I don’t see that changing in July. A good technique for targeting redfish is to wait for high tide and toss your bait under the mangroves. Try using cut lady fish on a jig head. The water is a little cooler in the shade of the mangrove and sometimes just a degree or two make all the difference.
Mackerel fishing has been good through June and I expect to see this trend continue throughout the rest of the summer. I like using white bait both on a hook and as chum. I use a 3x # 1/0 long shank hooks and 50# leader help to improve the catch ratio, but I still expect the toothy critters to eat through the leader.
Tarpon showed up early this year and it appears that we are now on the downside of the season. The early morning bite has been off but better in the late afternoon outgoing tide. Pinfish, Pass Crabs, and big Thread Fins Hearing are the baits of choice. In July expect to see some of the Tarpon move north into the northern areas of Tampa Bay. Tarpon are a great fish to catch so enjoy them while they are here.
Capt. Danny Guarino a lifelong resident of the Tampa area and a retired fishing guide on Tampa Bay. 813-956-2010.
Be safe out there.
Matthew and Patrick Latzanich both from Ruskin, Florida with 2 snook caught while fishing the Southshore with their step Dad Capt. Danny Guarino