What's hot: Many anglers are catching large snook along the beaches. These fish seem to be thriving, and good numbers are being caught along the northern Pinellas County coastline. The incoming tide has been exceptionally clear and made snook fall into deeper pockets when the sun gets high.
Technique: The keys to catching a big snook this time of year are presentation and proper baits. When setting up, allow room so the bait can be fed back into the tide, which creates a cushion between the angler and the target zone. Baits that stay deep will often be the first eaten. Pinfish or weighted-down sardines work best in swash channels. Downsizing tackle can also help to persuade finicky snook into eating. Twenty-five pound fluorocarbon leader combined with a 1/0 hook is a great setup on fish that are laid up over open sand.
Bait tactics: As water temperatures rise, it's difficult to keep sardines and other baits alive in the midday heat of a livewell. Cool the well to bring increased oxygen levels back and keep the baits frisky all day. Freeze a couple of gallon water jugs and place them into the well late in the day.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 439-9017.