Past trips: Catching bait would start at sunup at the drop-off of the shoals. The threadfins would hang in 6-9 feet. This made casting a net easy. Have the net ready to throw, and wait until the baits flick on the surface. Move the boat close to the bait and throw it. The best part about catching bait in water that shallow is the water temperature. The water is warmer and puts less stress on the baits when you move into water 2-3 feet deep. Baits caught in deep water sometimes get stressed in the warmer waters of the flats.
The targets: The first stop would be for catch-and-release snook. We would fish the corners of bridges and the swash channels along the beach. Most snook were 25-40 inches. When the action slowed, we searched for redfish. Most schools held more than 100 reds. If the reds didn't spook, we would have good action on cut threadfins. The next stop would be for tarpon along the beach. Using threadfins and crabs, we caught tarpon up to 170 pounds. St. Pete Beach, Egmont Key and Bean Point held the most fish. One of the best fights took 2 hours, 15 minutes to land.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.