Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Outdoors

Captain's Corner: Head to shallows for bait in mangroves

What's hot: As the summer brings higher tides, many game fish use the increased water to hunt in the shallows and find bait among the mangroves. Redfish are notorious for tucking into the shade of the trees to feed on small crabs, worms and pinfish among the roots. Anglers need tight, accurate casts into the pockets, where the bait sit among the shade. This will attract aggressive reds. Often, a cut-bait such as ladyfish and mullet expands the coverage as it exudes a scent. Once hooked up, anglers need to keep the rod tip below the water to pull the bruisers out from the cover of mangrove limbs and roots. The higher water pushes these reds deep into the mangroves. Often, anglers have to wait for the schools to leave the trees for a bite.

Summer snook: The flooded tides of summer make for strong outgoing tides. These dumping tides find the biggest snook sitting on points and troughs to feed on bait flushed off the flat. A large, nose-hooked pinfish works great as it stays near the bottom and hangs where the snook hold. This stronger baitfish also lets anglers know when a snook is nearby as it bounces and gets nervous before it gets hit.

Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at [email protected]

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