What's hot: Catch-and-release snook fishing is better than the past two years. There are good numbers of small and large snook working their way to the passes for the summer spawn. Most can be found close to bridges and swash islands close to the beach. Look for dark patches outside the grass line. Dark spots that move are pods of snook. Before the full and new moon, fish the incoming tide. Afterward, fish the outgoing tide.
Bait: Top baits have been large threadfins, scaled sardines and pinfish. The pinfish work best along the white sand of the beach. They will also stay close to the bottom. Threadfins and sardines will swim to the surface when they encounter a school of snook. Often, a bird will dive on the bait before the snook can strike. When you locate a school, cast the bait over the spot and reel it over the dark area. Once over the school, stop reeling and lower the rod tip. The bait will swim down to the school and most times draw a strike. Remember, snook season is still closed. All fish must be released.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.