Afternoon incoming tides have been producing solid catches of snook and trout. Live bait has been key in some areas, while in others the plastics fool the fish just fine. Live bait has never left our reach all winter, and now the fish are settling into a springtime pattern. Keep this in mind if you're planning a trip into the bay. Live sardines are on many of the markers and bridges. Taking the time to secure a wellful can be to your advantage as snook can't resist the bit raining from the heavens. Dropping hooked bait will fool some of the larger, wiser female snook. If artificials are your thing, black and gold shad tails have been hot on some shallow water artificial trips. A simple swim retrieve is all you need, just fast enough to get the tail swimming. Smaller walk-the-dog baits have been producing nice trout and some small snook. Look for baitfish schools near the trees, cast and walk the bait back toward you. If a fish strikes and misses, work it faster for a second then slow back to an erratic but normal retrieve.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or email@example.com.