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Late summer heat resumed on Tampa Bay with temps in the upper 80’s with our next cool front not scheduled to arrive until next weekend. We continue to lose 1-2 minutes of sunlight which allows Tampa Bay waters to slowly cool. Water temperatures can have a major impact on inshore fishing. Captain Steven’s favorite target the snook get very aggressive filling up for the upcoming winter.

With morning water temps now at 80 and very successful snook trips last week expectations were high for more of the same today. Bait is always the first step this time of year and Sunday did not disappoint. Chumming on the flats took only minutes to fire up frisky white baits off the bow. Only 3 tosses of the cast net were needed to have 400-500 baits in the live well.

Captain Steven has been targeting snook on Tampa Bay’s lower eastern shoreline with super results so today’s goal was to mirror recent trips. The tide has been incoming early the last few days so we focused on the outside of mangrove islands and oyster bars. Points with lots of water flow and deeper edges are ambush areas snook frequent.

I have my anglers cast then I start chumming with live baits, snook will give away their locations and recast to those areas. Today worked as planned with snook and a few redfish regularly attaching our offerings. As the water depth increased you could visible see the snook and reds move into the mangroves. Casting away from the mangroves we had Mackerel, Ladyfish and Jacks taking the same baits. Snook to 26” and redfish to 25” were taken on our first stop over a 2 hour period. As the water continued to come in we relocated looking for bigger snook and a stop on my redfish hole. The big bruisers eluded us but the bite continued. Remember leaving fish to find fish often backfires. The big 32” redfish pictured was taken onboard good friend Captain Little Jim Fesperman boat this weekend.

I have been ending trips chasing Bonita 8-15 pounds in the Skyway ship channel. Schools of Bonita and Mackerel are gorging on glass minnows and will attack silver spoons retrieved rapidly when cast into the boiling action. Big sharks have been attacking our Bonita. Remember to reset your drags, tight drags are a must when fishing mangroves and much loser settings when out in the open and away from cutoffs.

The school of monster redfish I located last week was nowhere to be found. These 35-40” plus bruisers are on my hit list to locate Tuesday. Stay tuned for details.

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