What's hot: The spring snook bite has started to be more consistent with good numbers off the spoil islands and just off the beaches. Clearwater Pass has schools of smaller males with a few larger breeders mixed in to feed in the strong current. The snook are still dark from holding in the backcountry, and with clear skies, they look like a dark grass patch over the sand. The redfish bite has been great on incoming tides with most of the fish being oversized. Many schools are in shallow grass flats with a few large, sandy potholes. These depressions are areas that current will flow through more strongly and bring a variety of baitfish and crabs for game fish to feed.
Tactics: The best all-around bait for snook and redfish is a hearty pinfish that will hold near the bottom. A tail-hooked pinfish will swim away from an angler and cover more ground. When fishing the beaches along swash channels, open the bail and let the pinfish work down the ditch. A nervous bait will swim more quickly and indicate a predator nearby. Twenty-five-pound fluorocarbon leader will have enough stealth and abrasion resistance for bigger snook. Just lighten the reel's drag to alleviate extra tension on the line. When fishing around mangroves for redfish, place a cork about 2 feet above the hook and let the pinfish swim into the shade.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 439-9017.