Hot spots: The snook run is moving south from upper Tampa Bay to the bridges close to the beach. The best spots are the docks on the west side of the bay and the spoil islands close to the beach. During low tides, fish the potholes on the outside of the docks. When the tide is high, fish under the docks. You can use light tackle during low tide — 15-pound line and a 30-pound leader will draw the most strikes. During higher tides, use 30-pound line and 40-pound leader to keep the snook out of the pilings. The top bait has been threadfins. They are large baits that are slow enough for the snook to catch. The best action is when the tide is moving.
The redfish are still schooling around the spoil islands and oyster bars in lower Tampa Bay. Most of the spots are seeing heavy boat traffic, which has made the reds spooky. Try to approach with the wind at your back. This will let you move in without making too much noise.
Pro tips: Most of the snook are moving toward the beach. Give each spot 15 minutes before moving to the next. During the spring migration, the fish you found the day before will have moved out of that area and closer to the beach. During most of our trips, we will find fish on half of the stops that held fish the day before.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.