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No matter where you go, fishing still is fine

By RICK FRAZIER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 27, 2001


What's your pleasure? Inshore? Offshore? How about near shore? No matter what your game is, there's plenty to go around for everybody this weekend.

Mangrove snapper action is the way to go. In the bay, mangos are hanging on the rock piles as well as on the ship channel edges. Offshore it doesn't matter what depth you pick, the snapper are chewing. Preferred baits include whitebait, shrimp, and just about everything else.

Spanish mackerel are along the beach in the morning, especially if there is an outgoing tide around sunup. The passes seem to have more mack activity with the tide washing the bait out to the gulf. Look for the birds. They'll tell you where to start.

Tarpon isn't out of the question either. Silver kings are along the beaches, rolling in the back bay mud holes, and even in the rivers. Beach fishing normally means corked threadfins or pinfish. While river and mud holes are the places to soak shad, mullet or ladyfish lay on the bottom.

Start in 90 feet of water for grouper action. Reds are hanging over limestone bottom while the gags have moved off and are clinging to ledges. Lower a chum basket to get things right. Frozen squid and sardines are good starters until the bite slows. Once that happens drop those hand-size pinfish.

Barracuda are great light-tackle favorites and are tearing up everything. The artificial reefs near shore are the places to go. Hot pink tube lures trolled by the bait pods over the reefs will get their attention. So will a freelined sardine. Take a few lures if you like to chase them that way.

Small blacktip and shovelnose sharks are patrolling the shallow grassflats inshore and are readily available to take your offering. Cut mullet, live pinfish, or whitebait under a cork will hardly go unnoticed. Use a chum block here, too.

Speckled trout action is fair at best with the most consistent bites coming in the 2- to 4-foot depths. Break out those loud topwater slurpers before the sun rises and be sure to let them sit a bit during slurps.

If you're landlocked and looking for some action, check out one of the bayor gulf fishing piers. Flounder, red drum, whiting, and snook won't disappoint.

Fish the spotlights at night with freelined whitebait or threadfins for snook. Use a light slip sinker rig with whitebait to catch the reds, flounder, and whiting.

- Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters in St. Petersburg, (727) 510-4376 or e-mail

captrick@luckydawg.com.

CALENDAR

Seminars

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, Clearwater, 443-5000.

Boating

TODAY: Twilight race, St. Petersburg, 822-3873.

TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840.

SATURDAY: Safe Boating Course, Clearwater, 462-6368.

Etc.

DAILY: Boyd Hill Nature Park tram tour; 893-7326.

SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003.

SUNDAY: Spoil Island Cleanup kayak outing, leave from Palm Harbor, Suncoast Sierra Club, 392-2821.

SUNDAY: Exercise walk, Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida Trail Association, (813) 920-0702.

- See Sunday's Outdoors for a list of next week's events. Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.

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