What's hot: With the warmer weather of summer, most inshore species will seek out deeper water or shaded shorelines to escape midday heat. Look for gamefish at edges and dropoffs that have good current flow, which helps cool the water and keeps a constant source of nutrition for lazy feeders.
Tackle: Snook are most known for hugging bottom structures and waiting for easy meals to pass by. These linesiders will use the strong push of water to trap baitfish against a sandbar or rocky ledge. Often a dead bait rigged with a small split shot rolling along the bottom will get picked up. For live bait, a nose-hooked greenback with a weight at the hook will keep the sardine in the strike zone longer as it drags with the current down the edge. Pop the rod tip every 10 seconds to make the offering flash and catch the attention of nearby predators. The biggest mistake anglers make during the summer spawn of snook is to overfeed them. A couple of chummers tossed into a current rip will detect where the fish will lay. This will draw interest and allow a proper presentation.
Tactics: Anglers willing to get out of the boat will find fish a lot less spooky and willing to eat. Walk along the beach and cast parallel to the shore, so snook and redfish will not feel the presence of a boat.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 439-9017