Fishing in the heat of the summer is some of the best fishing of the year. Although it can seem hot at times, if you get an early start and plan your trip according to the tides you can catch a variety of species - from trout on the flats to snook around the spoil islands and beach troughs.
Reds are still hanging around on the flats during the early morning and almighty Silver Kings are still roaming the bay. All can be caught in a single trip.
We are hitting the hottest time of year, so this means your most productive fishing time is going to be from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the latest. Anything later than this just seems to be too hot.
Finding the highest tide days that occur in the early morning is a great time to target redfish. If you're fishing the flats in the morning where tides are lower, move to the out-flats and potholes to find success with snook.
Also try fishing beach areas and spoil islands for the bigger fish. I've had some good success using greenbacks for bait but don't be afraid to use cut bait. Most species of fish tend to get a bit lazy and don't want to exert a lot of energy chasing food. This is when cut bait of any sort will be productive.
Having the right tackle is just as important as any other ingredredent for catching fish so I always give tackle recommendations so people know what to use. As water clarity continues to decrease in the summer from all the rain runoff, you can increase your leader without compromising your hook-ups. I've gone from using 25-pound Ohero fluorocarbon leader to 30-pound. This will come in handy when fishing your bigger spook spots.
My preferred choice of main line is 10-pound Fins Windtamer or the Ohero 15-pound Adrenaline. Both provide superior strength and long casts. Hook size will depend on your bait size. I sometimes downsize my hook to a No.1 Daiichi circle hook.
Tarpon is another species that's highly sought after right now.
Although tarpon fishing has been a little off this year compared to past years, we are still catching fish. Right now there are some good schools of tarpon roaming the beaches and passes in search of a frisky pass crab or threadfin. As we edge towards the latter part of the month I look for good schools of fish to make their push into the bay. Look for them to show up in good numbers around most wrecks and shoals as the roam the bay.
Tackle of choice is 65-pound Fins Windtamer braided line, 50- to 60-pound Ohero Fluorocarbon leader and a 5/0 Daiichi circle hook.
When targeting tarpon be prepared to do a lot of waiting but the fight of this fish is definitely worth it.
Jason Prieto is one of three Ruskin-based fishing guides and charter captains who share this column. He can be reached at (813) 727-9890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.