What's hot: Because of the windy conditions during the last week, many anglers were catching snook and tarpon along the beach. The easterly wind brought bait closer to shore and allowed for great sight-casting in the swash channels.
Snook: When looking for snook along the coastline, notice any type of lay downs such as trees, or variations to the beach where the current changes course. These ambush areas will have fish stacked up looking for an easy meal. Free-lined sardines that are belly-hooked will attract a snook as it flashes through the water column. In stronger moving tidal situations, a pinfish works better as it will lay near the bottom and stay in the strike zone longer.
Tarpon: As these fish move along the beaches, presentation is a key factor. Smaller crabs and threadfins are the top choice for live-baiting tarpon in shallow water. Get ahead of the school and set the baits naturally in front of the fish to prevent scaring the school with the boat. Oftentimes a corked bait will help to keep just the fluorocarbon leader in the school without the braided line falling in to alert the fish. In high sun conditions, downsize hooks and leaders to increase the hookup percentage.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.