What's hot: With the abundance of whitebait along the Pinellas coastline, snook and redfish have started to chew aggressively throughout the bayous and tributaries that hold good structure. Older docks, culverts and oyster bars provide good ambush areas that linesiders feed in and around. When presenting baits, a tight cast under the dock increases the chance of hooking a prize. Thirty-pound leader helps to prevent cutoffs; snook will try to find a piling to break free. In stronger-moving currents, a small split shot (size 4) placed about 2 feet up the line helps to slow the offering.
As the tides get higher around the new and full moons, redfish schools have increased in size and are starting to use the mangroves to find easy meals. These larger fish work up on a flat as it floods and can be seen flashing and pushing water. Clear waters make these fish spooky, and long casts are necessary. Cutbaits such as silver mullet and ladyfish can be cast a long distance and exude a fresh scent trail that reds can detect easily. A gold spoon can also cover more area and is a great tool for scouting out the shallows.
Tackle tips: Newly spooled braided line can add as much as 20 feet to the end of a cast when trying to attain optimum distance. The smaller diameter of braids in the 10- to 15-pound class matched with a medium-action spinning rod allow anglers to make a stealthy presentation to weary gamefish.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 439-9017.