Looking for Variety in the Heat!!

As usual for this time of year, inshore fishing can be slow at times. High water temps and an over abundance of freshly hatched sardines on the flats in Clearwater FL are often the reason. Lately, I’ve been netting those smaller baits with an 1/8 inch mesh cast net, then chumming some of the grass flats near the passes and catching a multitude of fish. Trout, ladyfish, small groupers, and especially mangrove snapper are all in the mix. Although the fish aren’t big trophy catches, the action is constant and after a while we can focus time on a snook or redfish. Large female snook are still around the points near the beaches, but definitely have a reduced appetite after a strong season of spawning. Smaller male snook are a little more cooperative, attacking the smaller sardines in the troughs and swash channels parallel to shore. Redfish are around but spotty in the usual places such a oyster bars and under the bushes. I have found a few schools sitting in potholes on the flats, nearer to deeper water that can be cooler as the mid day temperature rises. Creeping along until I locate a few fish, I’ll spread out a variety of baits to see which will get hit. Cut pinfish or sardines on the bottom, and live ones under a float are my first strategies. Whichever method gets hit first is usually how I will fish that area.