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Take The Heat Off Fishing

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On: Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 9:20AM | By: Captain Sergio Atanes

Bob Gerstien

July is almost here again and it’s time to not only find the fish, it’s also time for some shade from the blistering sun. We can start early just before daybreak and quit by 11am or try to find some shade during the heat of the day. To be honest, I don’t think I have seen too many trees in the middle of the bay.

First, for the early riser, using artificial baits is the best you can get. Start fishing as soon as you hit your favorite spot and don’t spend time catching bait, which has been a slight problem this year in Tampa Bay.

Look for cuts, or as I call them, small highways that lead from the mangroves into the grass flats. You’ll be able to see them because the water runs just a little faster in that area and the Snook and Redfish are like toll booth collectors waiting for bait as they make their way into deeper water with a falling tide. Topwater plugs are my best bet on calm mornings; they give a rush when I see the wake of a fish just before the strike and the feel of the fish attack. Work the topwater plug from the mangrove and across the cuts, and if you don’t get any strikes, try casting into the mangroves and working the plug alongside the cut.

I change over to jigs as the sun comes up, and with the jigs I try working the deep water on the outer edges of the grass flats or around oyster beds. Look for the deep side of the oyster bed and bring the jig around the ambush points with the current. The fish are going to be facing into the current waiting for the bait fish to come to them. Several of my favorites are the D.O.A. 3-inch shrimp or a 3-inch Bass Assassin saltwater shad tail with ¼-oz jig head.

Second, for the shade angler, bridges are great after the sun comes up and it starts to heat up. You can find plenty of action around the pilings. Black Drum on cut blue crab will give any angler a great time, and after catching a few of these bruisers, you’ll be done. Medium tackle is required, a big spinning reel or medium casting reel, 30- to 40-pound test line, and 40-pound mono leader. I find no difference between using mono and fluorocarbon when fishing for Black Drum and grouper, and you save money. Try using the lightest sinker you can to start with. As the current increases you will need to use a heavier sinker. For Black Drum, use a 3/0 circle hook with half of a blue crab or large shrimp.

Banana jigs work great under the bridges for Pompano, small Black Drum, and Mangrove Snapper. Look for Cobia and Tarpon along the shadow line, and again medium tackle with a live pinfish or threadfin sardine will do the trick.

Last, but not least, I will cover nighttime fishing in my next article, so stay tuned and tight lines...

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