What's cool: Most fish at this time of year seek cool water. The cooler spots are under the shade of a bridge, mangrove shoreline or docks. The water temperature on the flats is 90 degrees or warmer. Most baits won't live more than 30 minutes in those conditions. So use a live or cut pinfish. They will live for hours and work great on redfish as cut bait. At sunup, we use topwater plugs until the strikes stop. We then move to the flats and look for reds schooling close to the mangroves. The reds have been hanging close to the mullet schools and oyster bars. Many small pinfish are schooling near the reds. A cut pinfish will last long enough for the reds to find it.
Snook: Snook action in the gulf is catch-and-release until September 2013. The best action is near the passes. Look for small numbers hanging in the swash channel just off the beach. The best baits are threadfins and pinfish. Pinfish will stay close to the bottom while the threads want to swim on the surface and draw the birds over the snook. The pins will draw more strikes by staying deep and not attracting the birds to spook the school.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.