Inshore fishing has been pretty good in north Pinellas. Dodging storms is common during summer. But on sunny days, summer temperatures can increase the water on the flats to over 90 degrees. That’s when I fish the passes and the beaches for snook, trout and many other species that make their way toward the cooler waters. However, on occasion, I’ll run to near shore reefs and hard bottom areas with structure, usually 4 to 6 miles offshore. There has been a plethora of fish to catch. Mangrove snapper, mackerel, cobia, hogfish, grunts and a bunch of undersized grouper and occasionally one over the minimum length in the shallow depths. Cut squid or shrimp pieces are a guarantee for lots of bites, mostly from the smaller species. Grouper are eating pinfish or large sardines regularly and freelined sardines work well for the mackerel. Hang a chum block over the side to attract the fish to your location. Chumming with a few of the live baits onboard can also bring the fish off the bottom to chase the bait. There is always a chance to hook something very exciting like a large cobia, redfish or one of several species of sharks that inhabit our waters. Making that short run on calm days can provide all the action you need when the water temperatures inside are high, especially during low tide situations.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.