Tampa Bay Fishing Report By: Capt. Woody Gore

August was a scorcher with high humidity and September could be much of the same. Warm summer waters make fish a little lazy. Many summer anglers find nighttime fishing enjoyable and, provided the mosquitoes don’t carry you off, the fishing is relatively productive.

Greenbacks tend to run a little small this time of year, but deeper grass flats and heavier chumming might still bring in some decent bait. The fish tend to eat what’s available. So, if its small baits you’re netting, guess what the fish are feeding upon? And remember, you don’t need to blackout the livewell you only need enough for fishing.

With water temperatures in the high eighties to low nineties, the trick is keeping your baits alive. Here’s a tip. Buy an inexpensive swimming pool thermometer to keep in your livewell. Next, freeze several one-gallon bottles of water and keep them in your cooler. When your live well temperatures soar into the nineties, place one or more of sealed one-gallon bottles into the livewell to bring the heat down.

As long as temperatures ease up. night fishing will produce good catches of snook, redfish and trout around structures, especially lighted docks. Work any top-water lure through the light line and hang on. Remember, snook, redfish and trout are catch and release only.

Cobia fishing should continue as they travel around the flats with large rays, sharks or manatee. Toss your bait or lure near the fish and it’s usually fish on. They’re not picky about what they eat, just get it close and make it move. They also frequent channel markers and channel buoys, especially those holding schools of greenbacks or threadfins. Hang a chum block over the side and, if they’re close, they’ll come.

Tarpon anglers will find them moving into Tampa Bay and around the bridges. Bridge tarpon is always fun, and threadfins, crabs and bigger white baits tossed directly into their path should do the trick. Pick a bridge with a good light line at night and sight cast them.

Mackerel offers some outstanding light tackle action. Tampa Bay is full of big mackerel. Just drift or anchor around feeding or diving birds, toss out whitebaits, threadfins or live shrimp and hang on.

You can fish for snapper around almost any structure, especially around the full moon. Pick any artificial reef, rock pile, pilings or marker. Find some small greenbacks or shrimp, a # 1 hook, a 20-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, ¼ ounce egg sinker or larger (depending on the current) make a knocker rig and have fun.

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