Big Snook on the Feed
Capt. Stewart Ames
June 16, 2018
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Summer fishing is in full swing. Big snook have invaded the beaches and have provided some spectacular action. When east winds predominate and waters become clear, these large snook become more cautious as baits can be more closely scrutinized. On the other hand, when waters become less clear and there's decent surface chop, these same fish can become downright careless. Grass grunts and large whitebait are the best offerings. Half of the difficulty in hooking these fish is identifying the bite. Many anglers assume that a 10 - 15 lbs fish is going to grab a bait, immediately turn, and take off on a drag screaming run. In many cases, nothing could be further from the truth. Big snook will often rise up, eat a bait, and glide back to the bottom. If these fish feel no hook or tension from the line, they will not run. As a result, the only thing the angler feels is the "tick". This tick is a solid thump on the line (when the fish eats the bait), often followed by nothing. The experienced snook fisherman will detect this "tick" and reel down on the fish, which generally initiates a strong response from the fish…a jump or blistering run.
Over the last month, quality sized trout out on the beaches have dwindled….typical as May turns to June in the Clearwater / Palm Harbor area. On the bright side, redfishing has remained consistent. Consistent over the last month has meant that large schools have not been located but quality fish are being caught on almost all trips (25 - 28 inch fish). Casting into mangrove pockets on the higher phases of the tide has been productive…but expect to have to cover some ground. One or two fish may be located in a given area, but setting up and landing 20 fish off one spot has not been the situation lately. Hopefully, some larger schools will make an appearance over the next month and targeting these hard pulling fish will become even easier.
Tarpon have been abundant recently in the passes early and late in the day although hooking them has been far from automatic. Grass grunts, thread fin herring and crabs all represent good bait choices. Drifting these baits with and without a bobber will produce, as long as bait drift speed is neutralized with the tide. Good luck and good fishing.
Snook, redfish, seatrout,
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