What's hot: As late summer rolls along, the days begin to get shorter, which starts to bring about movement of inshore gamefish. Snook are beginning to show up in transitional areas such as spoil islands and bayou mouths. Look for moving water with good depth to find these lighter-colored fish that are fresh off the beaches.
Tips: Try using a larger pinfish with a heavier split shot to keep the offering down in the strike zone. The fall migration of larger bull reds are coming inside many of the major passes to feed on higher tides. These 20-plus pounders will test tackle as they push across grassflats in only a couple of feet of water. The waters of St. Joseph Sound are primarily clear on incoming tides, making it difficult to get close to these bruising reds. Cut bait, such as ladyfish and mullet, work great, producing an extra long cast while dispersing a scent trail. When using this method, be sure to have a heavy spinning outfit rigged with some wire. The scent slick will also bring in some larger bull and blacktip sharks.
Nearshore action: At first light, the snapper bite has been incredible when it coincides with incoming water. A 15-pound fluorocarbon leader with a small No. 1 hook will usually catch even the wisest of these gamefish.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 439-9017.