What's hot: Mangrove snapper fishing inside the bay is an excellent option right now. The small hatchling baits that are showing on many shallow flats are perfect to get them fired up and ready for a feeding frenzy. Look for bird activity and the appearance of "raining" bait on the surface to locate the select-size offerings. A quarter-inch mesh net is necessary to acquire them.
Rig right: Very light tackle has been required when using such small baitfish. Six-pound braid has been necessary to cast free-lined baits, and 10-pound braid is used when dropping baits to a submerged structure with a light weight. Tiny Nos. 1 or 2 circle hooks round out the rig with a fluorocarbon leader of 20 pounds or less.
Location, location: The snapper have taken up summer residence on most structures throughout the bay. We've experienced great results on rocky edges of spoil islands. Deeper grass beds have also produced well. Don't overlook artificial reefs as a starting point. Chumming with both live and fresh dead baits can definitely get them jazzed up and in a feeding mood.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (727) 510-1009.