Hot. Hot Hot. Late June and early July are offering up August-like temperatures. Water temperatures have been hovering in the mid to upper eighties....only cooling down when several days of rain show up. Most Tampa Fishing Captains are now primarily targeting the solid numbers of snook on the beaches, although trout, and even a few small redfish have been showing there as well. 

Big Summer Snook in Tampa Clearwater

Many local fisherman were concerned that last year's red tide may have significantly impacted our snook populations.  There is no doubt that this was the case further south where red tide "lived" much of last summer.  The impacts north of Clearwater Beach, where red tide halted, seems to be less dramatic. Nevertheless, with the increasing pressure on this species due to population growth in the area, closures are the logical and safe thing to do.  Protecting a species before it's in serious trouble is a lot better than trying to rebuild it. 

Overslot Tampa Redfish

On numerous Tampa Fishing Charters over the last month, catching 12 to 20 snook was a very realistic target. Generally, sizes were mixed, from numerous small males in the 22 - 30 inch range, supplemented by several of the larger females that really make the day. Whitebait, grass grunts and pinfish were all productive at different times and often a strike would come when switching from one bait to another. Baits were free lined, except in situations where there was heavy current, where adding a few split shots might improve the bite by slowing the bait down a bit. Progressing into July, the action should remain strong at least until mid month.  Historically, a decent snook bite would last until the beginning of August but, in the last few years, things have slowed mid July....possibly as a result of increased warmth. For shore anglers looking to target very large fish, working the beaches during low light periods (pre-dawn, dusk and at night) with large baits on stronger tide phases can still yeild some real beasts.

Tarpon Snook Redfish in Clearwater

Redfishing was productive in mid June, fishing mangrove shorelines on the high tides. Several small groups of larger fish were located and these spots producing consistently on the second strong tides in June.  Fishing seems to have slowed a little during late June / early July but there should still be pockets of quality fish willing to bite....simply a matter of finding them. Split shotted cut baits were most productive in the bushes, where live pinfish, whitebait and cut bait all worked equally well out in the open flats.  If there is one fish that is fairly impervious to water temperatures, it would be the redfish.  As temps move towards 90 degrees, these fish will bite, but fishing earlier in the day or in the shadows should improve the chance of success.

June is probably the best month to target tarpon on a Tampa Fishing Charter in this area. Although fish have been around for several months now, there was a fairly large push of fish in early June which provided excellent action for 4 - 5 days.  Unfortunately, this was interrupted by about a week and a half of wind, which certainly makes pursuing these fish a lot more difficult. Fish are still available in the passes and on the beach with the early morning time frame being the best. Large grass grunts, pinfish, and thread fin herring are all productive baits. Crabs, when available, are as good a bait as there is.

Looking to escape the heat and entertain the kids?  Make a trip to Mind Trapped Escape Room in Palm Harbor. Test your skills, solving problems to escape before your time runs out. Another  great form of climate controlled entertainment would be to take in a Tampa Bays Rays Game. Their enclosed, air conditioned stadium makes for a very comfortable way to enjoy a game in the heat of summer.  Good luck and good fishing.

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