What's hot: Summertime family fishing trips are winding down with schools back in session soon, but that doesn't mean the fishing is slowing. The small baits found in most areas are perfect for snapper fishing. Inshore and nearshore reefs are holding good numbers of fish. High-profile structures such as range markers and bridge fenders can also have fish around them.
Tackle: Scale down tackle to increase bites. A basic 10-pound test spinning rod with a light leader is all that's needed. Hook size should be proportional to bait size. With the smaller baits currently available, No. 1 or No. 2 circle hooks are necessary. Snapper have very keen eyesight, so larger hooks will be detected quickly, resulting in baits that are neglected.
Technique: Free line baits when possible. Anchor up tide and present baits back to the fish naturally. Chum can sometimes help bring fish right to the transom. When fish are holding deep, use as little weight as possible to get baits to the bottom and feel the strike. Snapper are notorious bait stealers, so use a sensitive touch to set the hook.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at email@example.com and (727) 510-1009.