Captain’s Corner: Rising temperatures fire up the bite

Published February 22
Updated February 22

With no cold fronts rolling into the bay area soon, it also means water temperatures are on the rise to the mid 70s. That has the bite fired up inshore and nearshore. Snook fishing is on fire with these warmer temperatures at night. Weve been finding snook around and up the major river mouths, the mouths of creeks, and residential docks. A lot of smaller snook along with some overslot snook mix in. The best bait remains a scaled sardine or whitebait, with a white 4-inch jerk bait on a ?-ounce jighead coming in second. Redfishing is just starting to get better on the flats. I look for mullet schools in 1-3 feet of water on the flats. Use your trolling motor to get in position and set up. If you just chase them, you wont catch them. The best baits are live baits such as sardines and pinfish; for artificials, use jerk baits or paddletail jigs. Mackerel are starting to show up in schools in the bay and off the beaches, along with some drag-screaming fun. Its some of the best fun when it comes to fishing and just not for kids but for adults, too. I use a 2X-long shanked hook in a 3/0-size hook to a short piece of 60- or 80-pound fluorocarbon leader.

Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at [email protected]