© St. Petersburg Times, published September 16, 2002
Windy conditions brought on by Tropical Storm Hanna have stirred up Tampa Bay and gulf waters, making it almost impossible to find areas with water clean enough to fish.
Because the fish have a harder time seeing, conditions such as this quickly can turn a productive hole into a stagnant dump.
You can do a few things to overcome this, however. Focus on the fish's other senses, as it does naturally to find food. Concentrate on its sense of feel, which it does through its lateral line on the side of its body, and its sense of smell.
Struggling or wounded bait sends out vibrations that are picked up and honed in on by predators. Noisy plugs, spoons or jigs that create lots of splash, rattle or pop simulate those vibrations. The more rattles or "vibes" the plug creates, the more bites it will get.
Cut pieces of squid, shrimp or shad sprinkled around favorite holes will put some smell in the water and concentrate fish in a hurry. Chumming is no secret but usually is reserved for roles other than dirty water conditions.
A great way to help attract fish to artificial baits is to make them smelly through scent sprays. Crab, shrimp and menhaden are good choices with which to soak baits. Adding a small piece of cut bait to your hook cannot hurt.
-- Capt. Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376 or by e-mail at email@example.com.