The lower Bay area continues to produce incredibly steady action. What was already “good” action on redfish and speckled trout, the numbers of fish around the south shore is impressive. Flounder action should be right ahead. Reading old reports, many years they are back in by now already. It just hasn’t happened yet. The 12 Fathom SlamR on a 1/8 to 3/16-ounce jighead is a flounder catching machine. Slow and steady, ridden along bumping the bottom, fat flounder will pounce on the lure when it goes over their nose. The flounder are very aggressive and have been following lures, something that is not always the case. Notorious for dropping lures, let it flutter back down when they let go. You will be amazed how many flounder you will catch that strike a lure until they are finally hooked. Stay tuned, this action should be coming up fast.
Mackerel. The Silly Willy/Teaser rig is the best kept secret for hooking and catching a lot of mackerel in a short period of time. And it is much easier than slinging and cranking those spoons. Landing technique: It takes some practice but if you lean over the side, reel up all the slack and then launch the fish upward swiftly, the mackerel will come over the rail. Take care not to dangle fish on the surface for very long or you will be hooking pelicans. The Skyway piers have nets available for helping injured birds. By kayak, try the Gulf passes at sunrise. If there are diving birds there are probably going to be mackerel too.
Redfish action is best sunrise and sunset. Trips in the evening and pre-dawn have held the very best action when the sunlight is minimal. The 3-inch mullet is the best lure to throw to redfish and you can use your favorite colors. Greengo, rootbeer gold glitter and Shimmer Gold have been great choices.
Trout action got interesting down in the mid Bay region. The action on 16 inch fish is strong. Move around to try to locate even bigger fish but there are plenty of lower slot fish in this area. We had one trip with 30 trout over 18 inches. There are not many days like that.
Sharks are on their way back in. This will be an exceptional year for blacktip sharks. The deeper troughs hold a lot of sharks in the summer months and this year will have more than usual. Blacktips will eat lures but can be easily caught using whole, live baits like oversize pinfish. In other areas, they were eating silver trout that were being reeled in. Be cautious when handling a hooked shark. They can contort and bend and will try to defend themselves when they are being handled. A long-handled dehooking tool is a good investment.
As always: Be careful out there!