The relative ease of gathering quality bait lately has been a bonus. We caught some along the outer edges of the Clam Bar east of the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Others we netted just off the channel leading to the Skyway. This week we got them on the flats near the Pinellas Bayway fixed structure "C" bridge. Some days you can approach the flat and "blind" throw, while others might require anchoring and chumming whitebait and pinfish. We've continued to target mangrove snapper. While the edges of the shipping channel along the bay mouth have continued to be most productive, it's often difficult to fish during the ripping tides of the full moon. Bumping out 10 miles to a patch of hard bottom in 45 feet allowed us to get and stay down with a 2-ounce weight. The bycatch can be as impressive. Red and gag grouper help keep the rods bent, and flounder, mackerel and an occasional cobia have been welcome surprises.
Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.