Everything eats shrimp even… anglers.
Regardless of the species you’re trying to catch on any fishing trip you won’t go wrong by having a few dozen shrimp along. And if you’re like me, being extremely fond of these tasty little rascals what I don’t use I always take them home and enjoy a little shrimp cocktail.
When it comes to live bait fishing, every angler has their own preference. However, almost unanimously all will agree that nothing rates higher than the every present shrimp. Simply put… everything in Florida waters eats shrimp. Consequently, if you’re searching for something that catches fish all year… it’s a live shrimp. This highly adaptable bait catches everything from pinfish to tarpon.
Pressure of work got you stressed and you need to relax, just go fishing. If you’re looking to forget the world’s problems or feel like taking the kids out for some afternoon rod and reel fun, shrimp would be a great way to do it.
Free-line on a hook, under a popping cork or one of my favorites, rigged with a bucktail jig and tipped with the tail section of a fresh shrimp. Fishing this simple rig around the mangroves, flats or structure will usually result in fish.
Inshore: July fishing is hot and humid and extra precaution should be taken when it comes to heat exhaustion. So, keep yourself hydrated with plenty of fluids. Heat exhaustion grabs you when least expected and can be fatal. Whether you’re fishing or boating during the summer drink plenty of fluids, wear a hat, and Sunblock.
Provided you can stand the heat fishing should be great. We can expect water temperatures to climb into the eighties and low nineties so watch your bait if using greenbacks. High water temperature means low oxygen levels especially in shallow water.
Not only the bait suffers, but fish also need oxygen rich water. So when you fish shallow look for areas with good tidal flows and changing water. Throughout the bay you’ll find deeper cuts and washes around and through grass flats, mangrove islands, oyster bars and shady mangrove shores, these are good starting points for many species.
Snook – Depending on tides and lunar phases, snook usually spawn around the full moon. Individual females may spawn every two days releasing over a million eggs per occurrence. For that reason, handle with care, revive quickly and return them gently to the water. Snook fishing is going gangbusters with nice fish caught on both live bait and artificial lures. This should continue through the summer.
Redfish – Redfish are found almost everywhere in the bay area. Search for them around oyster bars and early morning flats. Expect good early morning topwater action along grass flats and mangrove shores. Work both incoming and outgoing tides.
Spotted Sea Trout – Trout fishing been exceptional all year and unless something drastic happens we can expect it to continue all summer. Look for really nice size trout on Tampa Bay grass flats especially deeper edges on outgoing tides.
Cobia – Cobia will be traveling the flats and open water, sometimes as singles or groups and normally always behind large Rays. Keep your eyes peeled, toss your bait close and the battle begins.
Tarpon – Tarpon anglers should check the beaches and bridges. Threadfins, crabs and larger sardines should do nicely. Toss them directly into the path of rolling tarpon and hang on. Bridge Tarpon are always fun. Be ready to cast off your anchor line and buoy and give chase.
Snapper – The bay is loaded with these tasty fish. Although not as big as the offshore guys but they’re big enough to give you a terrific tussle on light tackle. Remember, these are reef species and the new laws require the use of circle hooks when using live or dead baits. Shrimp or cut sardines on a ¼ oz. knocker rig works great.
Mackerel & Bluefish – If you are looking for some great light-tackle action look, no further Tampa Bay is full of threadfins and that means Mackerel and Bluefish. Drift the bait schools or anchor around a marker tossing out a white baits or threadfins, and hang on. Shinny artificial lures like silver spoons also work.
Expecting the weather to remain hot, the winds should stay fairly calm for some warm water offshore action. While temperatures will often affect the near-shore bite cooler offshore temperatures turn fish on.
If it’s a snapper you’re after… it’s a great time to go fishing for these tasty fish. Also expect large Mangrove Snapper action at night from 50 feet on out, especially around the full moon.
Expect good catches of grouper, amber jacks, triggerfish, sharks, sea bass, and dolphin (mahi-mahi). There is also some pompano still hanging around the wrecks and as always goliath’s ready to eat anything you catch.