GO FISHING is a daily look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Mel Berman.
With area waters hovering around the 90-degree mark, you'd think that just about everything would be shut down for the summer. Well, the reverse appears to be true - but only if you target those species that revel in these bathwater temperatures.
When asked about how the fishing was, captain Craig Lahr was ebullient.
"We're catching some huge reds and snook at many of the barrier islands, around some of the canals emptying out into Clearwater Bay and, on the Gulf side, hooking giant tarpon," Lahr said.
One of Lahr's favorite fishing haunts is along the productive Clearwater Intracoastal Waterway. He said he has been using live greenbacks exclusively.
"You might catch a few shorts on artificials," he said, "but it's the live stuff that most fish want this time of year."
At the Sunshine Skyway, mangrove snapper have come out in droves along with abundant schools of Spanish mackerel. They're still pursuing the massive bait schools that constantly surround the big bridge.
Down in Boca Grande, the big tarpon bite is under way, not just in the pass, but along the beaches. Captain Pete Greenan suggests that tarpon are best caught at dawn and in the late afternoon.
He said great numbers of snook are on the beaches.
"We wade the edge of the beach and cast to the fish as they approach," Greenan said. "Excellent visibility and huge numbers of snook make it easy."