Morning squalls have put the Gulf off limits for me the past several days, but we managed a trip out there early in the week.
The action was pretty much non-stop for a few hours, with numerous spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper, groupers, cobia and sharks. An outgoing tide in 30 feet over a hard bottom produced the action on white bait.
A young lady from London did battle with one of the biggest cobia I've seen in years on 15-pound test line. When she passed the rod off to her hubby he sadly applied way too much pressure on the big fish and that was all she wrote. There are still a few straggler kingfish in the area as well.
The same morning we plied the inshore of North Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola. Redfish results were meager but spotted sea trout, bluefish, mackerel and big ladyfish kept our rods bent most of the time.
The waters just inside the mouth of Tampa Bay over to the Skyway are literally jammed up with sharks of numerous species and sizes. For pure sport you can't beat this action on light tackle. Tarpon chasers can always rely on these sharks when the big silver kings have lockjaw.
There is an unbelievable array of bait around right now. From fry pilchards to big slabs, pinfish, finger mullet, shad, thread herring, spanish sardines, etc. The bait is all over the inshore flats, on the beaches and out in the gulf.
Here's hoping that the summer thunderstorm pattern changes over to the more reliable late afternoon pattern instead of these any time of the day random storms.
Make sure when heading out this time of the year to carry plenty of water, hats, glasses, sunscreen and loose lightweight clothing. A working VHF radio that is turned on is a real plus for you and your passengers' safety when an unexpected squall blows up and endangers your safe way back to port. Remember that cell phones generally do not work once you are three to four miles offshore. Graphite is one of the best conductors of electricity, so if there is lightning about, lay your fishing rods down horizontally in the boat and get the heck off the water.
Good luck and good fishing. Be careful out there
Capt. "Zach" Zacharias
Docked on Palma Sola Bay at Parrot Cove Marina/Sunny Shores
115th Street West and 36th Avenue, Cortez, FL 34215