The Gulf waters have warmed and most species have transitioned into their summer patterns. Look for the best shallow-water bite to be early in the day when temperatures are coolest. When the day warms, I like to move to the deeper flats in seven to 10 feet of water.
I like to target these “skinny” waters on a high moving tide at sunrise. Look to rocky structure, mangrove shoreline, saw grass or a combination of them all. I like to throw a white or chartreuse Rapala Skitterwalk when the water is calm while working through these areas with my trolling motor. Nothing is better than watching a big snook or red fish attack a surface plug on a calm morning.
The deeper flats are producing a mixed bag of fish that have been giving my clients some non-stop rod bending action. Drift seven to 10 feet of water over grassy bottom with sand pockets mixed in. Slowly bounce a 1/4-ounce jig with a white GULP shrimp or Lil John across the bottom. This tactic has been catching big trout, sea bass, mackerel, sharks, flounder, bluefish, jacks and more. I enjoy this style of fishing because you never know what will bite next and the action is non-stop. When the heat of the day settles in, these deeper flats really produce when other fishing spots slow down.
Tarpon are still here and should remain in good numbers through June. I have been seeing fish from Hernando Beach to Homosassa. Look to sight cast these fish during midday when the sun is high, and be ready to try a variety of flies, lures and baits until you find something they will eat. The proper presentation is crucial so be sure not to cast right on passing tarpon, but throw well in front of them so your offering appears natural.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson runs Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Contact him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352)238-3581.