Fishing Around The Heat Of the Summer!
Summer days are here and going into the heart of the summer you can expect to see a few common things to occur. Hot weather, 90 degree water temperature, afternoon thunderstorms, and high humidity are all signs telling you to start fishing deeper water areas. Most of your shallow flat areas are very hot and some have very little moving water so you end up with low oxygen levels in certain areas. This means that even if you do find fish in the shallows you will stand a good chance of losing your bait due to the low oxygen. And having a well full of bait that you worked all morning to get die in 10 minutes is not how you want to start your day off.
The answer to the problem is to move to deeper water areas. There are a few Snook along the beaches and passes, but with the horrible winter we have had, I try not to target Snook so the breeders can reproduce to bring the stocks back up without additional stress. There are a few pods of redfish around but again the shallows are just too hot. Mangrove Snapper are very plentiful but you don’t see to many fish bigger than 15 inches in the bay. In the past few years I have started targeting sharks in Tampa Bay and I can tell you there no other fish that I have caught that will put you and your tackle to the test any better.
Most people think that you have to use steel leader and big heavy conventional reels and that is not the case. My shark rigs consist of a Daiwa Coastal 4000 medium spinning gear and a medium heavy action 15 to 45lb rod. You can use steel leader but I prefer 80lb fluorocarbon. I lose a few more fish but I also hook a few more. As for hook size I prefer the 7/0 Diiachi bleeding circle hook. Match this tackle with a double Uni-Knot for your line to leader and a Uni Knot on the hook and you are ready to fish. Dont forget to spool that reel full on Fins 50lb PRT to ensure that you land the big one.
Now that you have figured out what tackle is used for the job, you need to know what to use for bait. Shark are easily attracted by scent, so using a fresh ladyfish, mackerel, and Jack Crevelle are great bait. Frozen will work as well but I think fresh gives off more scent. The rest is easy, just fillet the meat off and I like to throw the carcass in the water for a chum slick. Now just cut a meat chunk about the size of your hand and hook it anywhere. I just throw it up tide and let it drift down with the bail still open until it hits the bottom. Then just wait until you feel something start to pull.
The last thing is one of the most important is what areas to start! Tampa Bay is loaded with all species of sharks, so finding a good spot is not hard but it will take some time. A good place to start is most of your tower markers and artificial reefs in the bay. Most GPS units or charts have them marked so finding areas will be a breeze. The best way to find a good spot versus a bad spot is to just fish it. There is no easy way. But like most inshore fish they like moving water so when approaching your next spot, try looking for things they like. Two that come to mind is moving water and bait. Once you start putting all these simple tactics together, you will find yourself addicted to shark fishing.