Summer temperatures are hanging on and keeping the flats hot. However, fish tend to have a natural instinct and eventually follow a migratory pattern at the same time each year. Snook are starting to leave the beach, trout are still invading the grass flats, and redfish are schooling as usual this time of year. The mackerel bite has been insane offshore, and mangrove snapper are cooperating. Beaches north of Clearwater have been mostly free of Red Tide, with bait extremely abundant in the morning along the beaches. Follow the birds diving along shore. They often give up the location of bait schools. Ease in quietly until you see bait schools swimming across the sand in 1-2 feet of water. Once the bait well is loaded, I’ve been heading offshore to nearby reefs. The mackerel bite has been very good. Chumming is mandatory. A chum block is also effective, laying out an oily chum slick for hundreds of yards behind the boat. The action has been incredible in 25-30 feet. Jack’s, mangrove snapper, mackerel, blue runners and small grouper have all been part of the action. If the winds are high and the nearshore waters are rough, the inshore bite has been steady. Reds are schooling a few yards from the mangrove limbs, foraging over the grass flats that are holding mullet schools.
Brian Caudill fis