Sharks, mackerel a good bet on flats as mercury soars

Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, (727) 942-8944: Don says the weather and water is hot, keeping many anglers off the water. Lots of sharks are on the flats, and mackerel are a good bet. Offshore, a trip to 45 feet of water off the south end of Anclote Key produced good numbers of grouper, though the percentage of short fish was high. Head to deeper water for the bigger fish. There were some nice grunts in the mix, however, and small cut bait on the bottom is all you need to load up on them.

The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Stan says anglers are tangling with some decent-sized cobia. Live pinfish and shrimp are good baits. Sheepshead have been around in good numbers and drum are being taken off the shallow end of the pier at Redington Shores. Mangrove snapper fishing is good, particularly after dark. Night fishing is producing some nice trout on live shrimp. Flounder fishing is good for those fishing live shrimp on the sandy patches of bottom.

Pier 60, (727) 462-6466: Kelli says anglers are taking a mixed bag at the pier on Clearwater Beach, including some snook after dark. The night trout bite is good, as well. The days are seeing keeper mackerel, bluefish and cobia. Live shrimp has been the top bait, though live sardines have been effective, as well.

Angler’s Depot, (727)938-5364: Matt says the hot weather has limited the fishing. Anglers have been hitting the flats and taking advantage of the large numbers of small blacktip and lemon sharks. The north end of Anclote Key has been giving up some keeper trout, and those fishing live bait on the sandy bottom there have been scoring some nice flounder. Only a few anglers reported finding reds, though they would not say where they were catching them. Offshore, the better action has been in very deep water, with some heading to 100 feet of more for the biggest grouper.

Anclote Bait and Tackle, (727) 945-1808: Capt. Griff says mackerel are moving onto the flats over the deeper grass. The same areas are holding keeper-sized trout. Tarpon are rolling on the beaches, and the beaches still are holding some good numbers of snook. The grouper action starts in about 45 feet, but 60 feet is producing more keeper fish. Sheepshead fishing inside the Anclote River has been good. Blacktip sharks to 4 feet have been on the flats off Howard Park, in Tarpon Springs.

Nick Stubbs is founder and webmaster of, an interactive fishing website.

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