Offshore: The artificial reefs have been producing many different types of game fish. Mangrove snapper are starting to show on these reefs already, along with cobia, grouper, sharks and mackerel. When it comes to fishing these reefs, be prepared for anything and everything. Bring some medium-sized tackle and heavy tackle. You want to have tackle for fishing close to the bottom, midrange and at the top of the water column. I like to bring a chum bag to attract the baitfish and the game fish.
Mangrove snapper: I use my snook tackle with a light, 20-pound-test leader, and a No. 1 hook. These fish are good at stealing bait, so the smaller tackle will help with hookups. The best bait is a small whitebait, allowing the snapper to eat the bait whole instead of picking it apart. The recent snapper we caught have been between 4 to 8 pounds, perfect size for table fare.
Inshore: The west side of Three Rooker Bar and Anclote Key have been producing a lot of action for snook, jacks, ladyfish, trout and mackerel. Look for diving birds or or baitfish getting busted on the surface. Most of the action has been close to the beach, within a 100 yards or so. Whitebait and pinfish have been the best baits in these situations also.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.