During the last spell of moderate weather and higher-than-normal tides, scaled sardines showed up along the North Suncoast area, a sure sign the fast-paced action of spring is not far away. As the days get longer and the water warms, expect to find snook in places they have not been since last year.
Early season snook: Before the last cold front, we were seeing a handful of big snook under mangroves along the mainland shoreline. These fish were dark-colored, which can indicate that they recently made the transition from tannic-stained brackish waters out to the flats. As the water continues to warm, more of these fish will come out of their wintering habitats and begin feeding aggressively. We often catch some of the biggest snook of the year during the beginning of spring. Since these fish have been holding in the upper stretches of rivers, and even deep lakes that are accessible through small creeks, they have not been subject to much fishing pressure. This makes them less wary and more likely to bite the first baitfish they are offered.
The best time to target them is on strong outgoing tides late in the afternoon. This flow not only carries potential food items along with it, it pours the warmest water of the day past the snook, which position themselves strategically for this feeding opportunity.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.