Going dark: Recently I had a client interested in fishing at night, unable to shake free for a day trip. Nighttime is perfect for those who have this issue. Slamming under the lights is not typically a problem. With summer rapidly approaching, it's a great way to beat the heat.
What's hot/technique: Trout are the most visible and prevalent fish on nearly any dock I fish. Their size can be impressive. Live shrimp is a can't-go-wrong bait. Medium- or regular-sized shrimp free-lined into the light is deadly for trout, and as the full moon in June approaches and the shrimp run begins, it is deadly for snook, too.
Snook under the lights like medium-sized white baits and smaller pinfish. Again, pitch the bait into the light. Snook hang out on the edge of the darkness and smash disoriented bait as it slides into the dark edges. It's like walking into a very dark room from a bright one — in the time it takes their eyes to adjust, they've become a snack for a predator.
Redfish tend to hang out with the trout and, at times, are similar in size. It's difficult to differentiate between the two in the lights. The strike helps to tell them apart. Going off last summer, I think most of reds in the lights are in the 20-25 inch range, perfect table fare. Trim the tail off a pinfish and sling it into the edge of the light. If it makes it through the swift snook and ravenous trout, it might find you a redfish.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.