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|Westerly Flow Continues
For what seems forever, westerly winds continue to plague the Gulf Coast. High pressure situated over the Gulf creates what meteorologist call a "reverse weather pattern". Generally speaking, this scenario creates onshore winds that dirty the water, forms storms over the Gulf that move inland in the morning/ early afternoon, less than favorable dew points, humidity and above average evening temperatures. While fishing is never at peak in the dead of summer, the well-situated weather pattern has made things much more of a challenge. It would be an understatement to say the weather patterns have changed the past two years and we can only hope for a high to move over Bermuda to offer some relief. Tarpon are best sighted on the lee side of land at low light and particularly on tide changes. For the most part the action has been best inside Tampa Bay. While some fish continue to be jumped off the Gulf beaches, most are from the piers and bridges. The swash along the beach has been dirty with sand and very uncomfortable from a boat. Inside the Bay, live threadfins, slow sinking plugs and jigs get the nod on channel edges, river mouths, and the dredge areas. The big bridges that span the Bay are too seeing consistent action by working live baits around the structures by day and night. Pay particular attention to bait pods as they are holding tarpon, mackerel, jacks, ladyfish, cobia and the father time of the Bay catfish. Black drum has made their way inside the Bay and can be found around the bridges. Action is best at night when the huge drum works the barnacle-encrusted pilings for a meal. An eating size blue crab crushed and weighed to the bottom along the pilings will offer your best opportunities to get your line stretched. These fish offer no real food value, as the old meat is foul tasting and full of worms. There is no real sense in killing these huge fish for bragging rights. Pompano, permit, cobia, redfish, snook, jacks, and sharks of all sizes are frequenting the bridges as well during the summer months.
Snook remain in the passes, but again, the west winds have dirtied the water and the surf can get a little rough. The flats adjacent to such areas prove to be a bit cleaner, calmer and are producing on the high tide changes. A few reds and trout are being taken in the same areas.
Offshore barracuda are the hot ticket nearshore along with mango snapper and sharks of all species. The grouper bite is best 45 feet on out. The water is much cleaner and cooler out there, but as well, remains bumpy at best.
Adjust your fishing to the weather patterns. If the times line up with the daylight (or lack of), a tide change and solunar, you will reap the reward. A giant tarpon, a cooler full of pompano, excellent catch and release snook fishing, and the potpourri of other summer species is the best way to beat the summer doldrums.
Screaming drags and tired arms!
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