What's hot: As more anglers hit the flats during summer, working up into the no-motor zones can aid in finding less-pressured game fish. Redfish and snook will use the cover of mangroves to hunt bait and work the oyster bars on stronger incoming tides.
Larger schools of reds are commonly found in these areas as the high water of July brings in the oversized bruisers that will spawn in early fall. The many mullet that push into the grass flats are closely followed by these overslot fish.
Gold spoons with white bucktail trailers are top producers as they will imitate the abundant pinfish that are found among the shallows. When the redfish become finicky, try using a cutbait such as ladyfish or silver mullet placed tight to the overhang of the tree line.
The beachside waters have calmed in the mornings, allowing snook to work the many swash channels that run parallel to the shore. The deeper green troughs tight to the beach will funnel bait and find the larger females feeding heavily at first light.
Sardines and threadfins nose-hooked will entice these 15-pounders into attacking the offering. With the season closed, be sure to take the time to revive these spawning fish.
Helpful hint: The water has dramatically cleared off the points of the islands and made the snook tight-lipped at times. Downsizing to 25-pound leader will increase hookups. To alleviate cutoffs, loosen the drag and apply minimal palm pressure only when needed.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 or at [email protected]