What's hot: Snook are transitioning from the beaches toward the backcountry. They are staging along the mouths of creeks, inlets and rivers. The small, juvenile male snook are plentiful and cooperative. On a trip this past week, we worked an oyster-lined shore, throwing chum baits and waiting for the snook to swirl, giving away their location. A quick cast in the vicinity resulted in many hook-ups. Snook often share the same habitat as redfish. They can be seen together, hiding in the mangroves on high tide, and hanging around the edges of oyster bars.
Tip: Tidal flow is key when searching for snook. They tend to seek areas where the water rushes around a corner or into a deep hole, bringing baits they can ambush easily. Although backcountry flats don't always have visible tidal movement, the points are usually where the water moves the most.
Tackle: Use a 15- to 20-pound test main line with a 30-pound test leader and 1/0 or 2/0 hook for snook. Their rough mouths can wear through lighter leader material. Because snook are leery of heavy tackle and tend to avoid large hooks and heavy line, downsizing to 25-pound leader increases the chances of a bite in clear water, though some fish may break off.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.