Afternoon water temperatures reached 70 in the backwaters last weekend. The warmup enticed wintering snook to feed for a few hours each day. The first few weeks of spring can offer amazing snook opportunities. As adult fish begin their journey from deep inside backwater creeks toward more open bay water, they often stage in creek mouths and surrounding structures such as docks and bridges. Snook are hungry after almost two months of cold weather and feed with recklessness at times. Live scaled sardines are the bait of choice and can be cast-netted along bridge shadow lines at night and open water spots where they'll be given away by the presence of diving pelicans. Redfishing has been slow this week. Before the full moon, we saw lots of redfish on the flats during the afternoon. But full moons often change a fish's habits as they disappear from one day to the next. That should change as we get toward the end of this moon phase. Spring redfish like to school in shallow water, causing them to be very skittish. Staying as far away from the fish as possible and allowing them to swim through your bait is key.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.