What's hot: Mangrove snapper fishing inside the bay is picking up. Almost any structure with high relief should hold fish. They include the edges of the main shipping channel, artificial reefs, range markers and bridges. When searching for spots on the edge of the channel, focus on sections with a near vertical drop and jagged rocky outcroppings on the topside. This is indicative of where shear limestone had to be blasted through when creating the channel. Anchor position is critical so your bait can be presented uptide of the structures.
Tackle: Knocker rigs excel for snapper fishing. The direct connection straight to the hook provides the best feel for the snapper's quick and strategic bite. Ten-pound test spinning tackle is typically adequate for bay size snapper, but step up to at least 20 pounds for a shot at other grouper that reside in the same areas.
Tips: While snapper fishing, always put a couple of flat lines out for Spanish mackerel. Rig these outfits with a short trace of wire to prevent cutoffs from sharp teeth. Casting one short and one long and placing them in the rod holders will keep them from tangling. A frozen chum block hung off the transom will sweeten the deal and draw the mackerel in from a distance.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727) 510-1009.