What's hot: Mangrove snapper seem to be almost every place that has structure. They are swarming around artificial reefs, natural hard bottom and rock piles, and area bridge piling configurations. Live shrimp or small greenbacks are the bait of choice. Snook season is in again. As always, keeper snook are difficult to come by. Numerous smaller fish are keeping rods bent at almost every linesider hangout. The big ones know just where to swim to break hearts and fishing lines.
Tip: Using longer leader than normal seems to help catch more of the "educated" fish. They see the braided styles of line a mile away. Snook are fickle creatures whose obvious purpose is to anger anglers as much as possible.
Economical tip: Try fishing areas that are close to home. On a recent rip, numerous snook, redfish and snapper were caught less than one minute out of the Gandy channel. We sat there for four hours steadily catching as scores of other boaters blew by on the way to the hot spots. Lesson learned. It is not always necessary to travel a long way to catch fish.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at (813)310-6531 or at www.snookfish.com or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.