What's hot: As warmer weather arrives, snook have made the transition out of the back country. These game fish have staged up on many of the spoil islands along the Intracoastal Waterway and should hit the beaches soon. With water temperatures climbing to the mid 70s, the metabolism of snook should take off after minimal eating throughout the winter. Sardines (whitebait) have emerged along the grass flats inside major passes and can be chummed into cast-net range at first light. These baits of choice will fire up the snook where the current is swift. Belly hooking the sardines will flash and make the bait dive deeper into the dropoffs or holes.
Tips: The last lunar phase brought some larger redfish to the flats of north Pinellas County. Many in the 30-inch range are working the oyster bars on higher tides. Pinfish under a cork work well while fishing the outer edges of the shell banks. During lower water levels, anglers should work gold spoons or white jerkbaits among the mullet as the schools move across the shallows. Mangrove points or docks that have good tidal movement are other key spots throughout the day. These ambush areas are best on the first couple of hours of the flood tide, as this will produce the most bait the reds are seeking.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at [email protected]