As summer winds down, fishing sizzles in- and offshore

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Alan King of Kansas shows off a whopper redfish caught July 31 in the nearshore waters using shiners for bait. King and friend, Jerik Monhollon, were guided to their share of catch-and-release action by Capt. Warren Girle.
Alan King of Kansas shows off a whopper redfish caught July 31 in the nearshore waters using shiners for bait. King and friend, Jerik Monhollon, were guided to their share of catch-and-release action by Capt. Warren Girle.
Reid Goetz and son Trippe, 8, of Fort Worth, Texas, show off one of a few nice redfish caught and released Aug. 2 using live shiners for baitin Tampa Bay on a charter with Capt. Aaron Lowman. Lowman said the anglers also had countless snook releases and invited enough mangrove snapper home for a tasty dinner.

Fishing around Anna Maria Island is hot for a variety of species inshore and offshore.

Fishing offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in depths of 50-120 feet is proving to be good. In shallower depths of 50-60 feet, mangrove and yellowtail snapper seem to be prevalent. Bottom fishing and free-lining baits in a chum slick is getting the best results.

Going slightly deeper, to depths of 60-80 feet, anglers are hooking into success by free-lining live crabs for permit.

And still deeper, in depths of 100-plus feet, bottom fishing with live or frozen baits is attracting red grouper and African pompano to the hook.

Moving inshore to Tampa Bay, Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper are being caught around shallow wrecks and reefs in Tampa Bay. And, in the skinny water, catch-and-release snook are biting, especially where mangrove edges and lush grass exist. Catch-and-release redfish are being found in these areas, but not as apparent as the snook.

On my own Southernaire charters, I’m fishing Tampa Bay. The wrecks and reefs are providing ample action on mangrove snapper and Spanish mackerel.

Moving to the flats, catch-and-release spotted seatrout are in abundance with ladyfish and macks rounding out the bite.

Finally, fishing close to the mangrove shorelines is yielding some good action on catch-and-release snook, as long as the tide is swiftly moving and the water temps aren’t too high.

Lastly, spotted seatrout are taking the hook with regularity over the deeper grass flats in the bay.

Capt. Aaron Lowman is targeting catch-and-release snook in areas where oyster bars, potholes, channel edges or mangrove edges exist. Chumming heavily with live shiners is enticing the linesiders, which makes it easier to get one on the hook.

While targeting snook, Lowman is encountering an ample supply of keeper mangrove snapper and some catch-and-release redfish. Fishing around structure in Tampa Bay is providing action on Spanish mackerel, gag grouper and mangrove snapper. Lowman warns that this bite has been day to day — some days the action is really good, while others are average.

Lastly, Lowman is hunting permit in the Gulf. Fishing reefs and wrecks with live crabs or jigs is resulting in fish up to 10 pounds for his clients.

Capt. David White of Anna Maria Charters is taking his anglers offshore for a variety of species.

While bottom fishing with live pinfish, shiners or frozen sardines, White is putting clients on red grouper, mangrove and yellowtail snappers. Also, while offshore, White is hooking into some large 20-30 pound African pompano. Most bites on the pompano are occurring while bottom fishing, especially when the bait is on the drop.

Moving inshore, White is catching Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper around shallow water structure in Tampa Bay.

Going even shallower around mangrove edges in 2-3 feet of water is resulting in catch-and-release snook and redfish.

Capt. Jason Stock is targeting permit on offshore wrecks with good results. Casting live free-lined crabs over wrecks is yielding what Stock considers “stellar” permit fishing for his clients. Most catches are 10-15 pounds, with bigger fish in the mix.

Also offshore, Stock is bottom fishing for mangrove and yellowtail snappers. Both species are cooperating nicely, finding their way into the fish box. He reports some large red grouper can be found while bottom fishing, especially over hard bottom and ledges.

Lastly, Stock was excited for the opening of amberjack season, which was Aug. 1.

Jim Malfese at the Rod & Reel Pier is seeing catch-and-release snook fishing for anglers at the pier getting better and better, as more snook are migrating toward the Gulf beaches to spawn. Using large baits such as ladyfish, mojarras and pinfish are attracting fish 30-35 inches. Using smaller baits — live shiners and shrimp — is resulting in snook in the 20-inch range.

While targeting the snook with shiners or shrimp, pier anglers are hooking into keeper mangrove snapper and flounder. On days when bait schools are gathered around the pier, fishers are enjoying action on ladyfish, jack crevalle and macks.

Capt. Warren Girle is working nearshore structure, which is host to a variety of species.

Free-lining live shiners over structure is resulting in macks. Chumming heavily with live shiners is keeping the fish feeding within casting distance of the boat. While this is occurring, Girle has his clients casting baits into the frenzy for a hookup.

Bottom fishing in the same areas is proving to be good, especially for mangrove snapper. Snapper 12-16 inches are readily responding to shiners. Moving closer to shore, Girle is putting sport anglers on redfish in Tampa Bay. Most hookups are in the 18-27 inch slot, while reds 32-35 inches are common.

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