What's hot: Catch-and-release snook action is at its peak. Packs of very large snook are feeding heavily during the fastest moving tides. Sunset, sunrise and night are the best times to find snook crashing the baitfish schools. Almost every fish being caught is more than 30 inches in length. Many of the fish are more than 35 inches. Snook are closed to harvest until Sept. 1, so all fish must be released immediately.
Tackle and techniques: Use heavy spinning outfits to enable you to fight the fish quickly for faster release. A 4- to 6-inch lure is ideal for enticing a large snook to strike. With an abundance of floating weeds, a lightweight, Texas-rigged jerkbait has been a perfect selection for working the lures in weedy areas. Thirty- to 40-pound fluorocarbon leader is necessary to prevent breakoffs. Position yourself up-current of an area that you think will hold feeding snook and make long casts down-current, and work the lures back to you. When you get a strike, you feel a distinct thump. Set the hook immediately and look up because a lot of these fish perform spectacular jumps.
Pro tips: Listen for the clue to make a location change. The sound of a snook eating a baitfish is very loud. Quietly move toward an area where you hear the distinctive pop of snook clobbering baitfish. Concentrate your search in areas where there is a mix of grass and sand bottom.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 692-6345.