Now is a good time for family fun fishing. Fast action is the key for a family outing with the kids, and on half-day trips we’ve been catching 10-12 species of fish while anchoring and chumming on the deep grass flats of Tampa Bay. Medium to small white baits and greenbacks are the best bait. Live shrimp is also good but the bait stealers will keep you busy. Working in 6 to 8 feet is the best depth. The deeper water is cooler than the shallow flats and many species of action fish are hanging out there, including speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, black tip sharks, jack crevalles, lady fish, grunts, grass grouper, sea bass and more. On a good moving tide, Miller likes to use a chum block and spice the chum line up with cut slivers of white bait or greenbacks and a few crippled live baits. Use a long shank hook and 30-pound mono leader to help prevent cutoffs from the toothy critters.
Maximo Marina reports good mangrove snapper action at the Skyway for anglers using shrimp and white bait on the bottom around the big pilings. Some big grouper are also being hooked on pinfish. Anglers trolling big-lipped plugs like the Bomber, Mann’s Stretch 30 and the MirrOlure 25 Deep Diver are catching big keeper gag grouper in Tampa Bay. All the bay artificial reefs, the Sunshine Skyway bridge and the ship channel edge all the way to downtown Tampa are good places for big gags. For more information, visit www.fishingwithbillmiller.com. To book a charter with captain Bill or his son captain Billy, call (813) 363-9927.