A welcome change in the weather pattern this past week finally allowed gulf waters to clean up enough to target beach snook and tarpon. The tarpon migration remains strong along area beaches. Pods of tarpon are traveling both north and south within a couple of hundred yards from shore. The attitude of the fish is much different now than a couple of weeks ago. Rarely will you see them daisy-chaining their way southward down the beach. Now the fish's movements are much more deliberate, often moving quickly and rarely surfacing for air. Our best success the past few days has been when the boat is anchored, continually casting fresh live baits into potential travel lanes. Pinfish, grass grunts, threadfins and pumpkinseeds all work for bait. Keep one rod rigged with a bait in the live well in case a pod of fish pops up on the opposite side of the boat. The water clarity is perfect now: not too clean but still good enough to spot incoming fish from a good distance. We're using an 80-pound leader and a 7/0 circle hook and have landed a high percentage of fish hooked this week. Beach snook fishing has been excellent. Slightly off-colored waters have had the fish feeling comfortable. Free-lining grass grunts down-tide along the swash channel eventually will pay off as long as snook are in the area. Fish a 30-pound leader and a decent-sized circle hook when using larger grunts to ensure a good hookup.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.