What's hot: Warm weather followed by windy cold fronts have made for tricky fishing. Snook are becoming much more active now that water temperature is rising again. They are starting to move out of their winter hangouts, and they're hungry, because they do not feed often when the water is really cold. The next several months historically are the best time to catch snook.
Tip: Live sardines are the bait of choice for early season fish. Snook will go out of their way to clobber a nice live offering. The coveted sardines are starting to appear around area bridges and some deep channels. A bottom machine is a wonderful help in finding bait schools in deep water. A quick-sinking cast net with a long rope is extremely helpful in obtaining skittish late-winter bait.
Equipment: Using braided types of fishing line makes a dramatic difference in the amount of snook that makes it to the boat or shoreline. Even a small nick in monofilament lines can cause failure during the heat of battle. This hardly happens with the new types of line. Tangles in braided line take a few extra moments to remedy, but the occasional inconvenience is worth it overall.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at snookfish.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 310-6531.