Recent Tampa Fishing Charters report:
Bait is all over the flats all across the middle bay. Best bet is right before sunrise to catch the morning tide or, if you like the afternoon tide better by noon its in schools all over the flats. Tip: when boats are chumming on a flat it is considered bad etiquette to troll through their chum slick and rodeo bait. If you choose to rodeo for bait move away from the boats that are chumming, often the anglers have been working on their chum slick for an hour.
Snook are going ballistic on the incoming tides this past week, chumming with sardines gets them into a frenzy and they are more apt to fall for one with a hook in it. Start out chumming heavy to get the swift ones fired up then scale back enough to keep them interested. So the question arises, when to scale back on chummers and how much is too much vs. not enough, the answer you have to develop a feel for it by trial and error. 20 lb leader and a #1 or 1/0 circle hook are good starting points. Hook size varies with bait size, leader size varies by number of break-offs.
Over the past week the mackerel have returned and they are ravenous and ready to grind on anything moving. Use the same chumming technique on the mackerel as you do the snook, A 40 lb leader and a long shank number 1 hook will prevent cutoffs, any wire will just turn off the bite. If you get a strike and the fish gets the bait, reel the bare hook in across the surface and give it some erratic twitches, this method has caught a half dozen fish this week already.
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