What's hot: Snook are starting to show up at swash channels, a dropoff about 3-5 feet from the beach. When you find a school, anchor about 15 feet from shore. The best bait is large pinfish. They have a light color and stay close to the bottom. Threadfins and scaled sardines tend to go to the surface when they encounter a snook. As a result, birds will try to get the bait and spook the snook. Cast the pinfish upcurrent of the school and let it drift naturally through the snook. You can use light tackle to catch and release beach snook. Rods should have an 8- to 12-pound line and a 30-pound leader. A 2/0-circle hook makes the snook easy to release.
Redfish: Schools in lower Tampa Bay are not as large as the past few weeks. Most hold 50-100 fish, compared with 300 or more before. I have seen this happen before. Usually the larger schools return.
Tarpon: Tarpon are rolling around the bridges in Tampa Bay. Work the pilings with a free-lined threadfin or pinfish. Cast your bait upcurrent of the piling. Let the bait swim deep and drift past the bottom of the piling. When the bait returns to the surface at the backside of the piling, recast and repeat.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.