Great trip: We spent last Tuesday trying to find my client's wife a snook that would top her previous 3-pounder. We loaded the livewell with large threadfins and worked toward the beach. The first few stops produced a few strikes but no hookups. We then moved out to a pass and idled along the dropoff until we saw a school of snook hanging in 2 feet of water. Her first cast got slammed as soon as the bait hit the water. I screamed, "Don't set the hook, just reel." She turned the handle as fast as she could until the rod bent double. A nice 12-pound snook broke the surface with a short tail walk and burned a hundred feet of line off the reel. She slowly worked the snook back to the boat for a few pictures and a quick release. The rest of the trip we tried to outsmart the egret, terns and sea gulls that showed up to feed on our baits. The egret stood on the shoreline while the terns and gulls hovered over the school. Every time a bait was cast to the snook the birds would attack the bait and spook the school. We then came up with a plan: Get a bait ready to cast, then toss a few baits in the other direction. When the birds went after the tossed bait, we cast a bait to the school. It worked out to the tune of 15 snook in the 10- to 15-pound class.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.