The amberjack bite has been awesome. These monsters have been all over the wrecks such as the Mexican Pride. We like to use a 4/0 style reel and a 7-foot heavy rod to get those bad boys up off that wreck. They have been eating blue runners like candy. We also chum them up with white bait. To make it real fun, try it with an 8000-size spinning reel–what a blast.
The inshore bite has remained strong if you know where to look. Warm water tactics are a must. Find deeper water along a healthy grass flat and the trout are sure to be close by. Inshore dock fishing remains steady and a reliable choice with catch and release snook and redfish along with nice keeper inshore mangroves and scattered keeper grouper. Live pinfish, shrimp and greenbacks will get you into the action. Cut baits will also get hit. Try pinfish, ladyfish, mullet or threadfins. Keep a rod rigged for cobia–they can show up at any time.
The near-shore bite on the many rock piles dotting the deeper water of Tampa’s inner Bay are loaded with mangrove snapper, gray snapper, grouper, sharks, cobia and mackerel. Cut bait and live pinfish will load the cooler with a variety of snapper and a few keeper grouper. Freeline a jack for the sharks. Tarpon are all over the Bay and eating crabs. Cut shad and live threadfins or pinfish will get you into the action.
It’s hot out right now, and fighting these fish will take its toll. Heat exhaustion is a real threat. Bring plenty of ice and water or sports drinks. You will need it–a gallon per person. Now it’s time to take these tips and get out there and fish!