Looking for Variety in the Heat!!

As usual for this time of year, inshore fishing can be slow at times. High water temps and an over abundance of freshly hatched sardines on the flats in Clearwater FL are often the reason. Lately, I’ve been netting those smaller baits with an 1/8 inch mesh cast net, then chumming some of the grass flats near the passes and catching a multitude of fish. Trout, ladyfish, small groupers, and especially mangrove snapper are all in the mix. Although the fish aren’t big trophy catches, the action is constant and after a while we can focus time on a snook or redfish. Large female snook are still around the points near the beaches, but definitely have a reduced appetite after a strong season of spawning. Smaller male snook are a little more cooperative, attacking the smaller sardines in the troughs and swash channels parallel to shore. Redfish are around but spotty in the usual places such a oyster bars and under the bushes. I have found a few schools sitting in potholes on the flats, nearer to deeper water that can be cooler as the mid day temperature rises. Creeping along until I locate a few fish, I’ll spread out a variety of baits to see which will get hit. Cut pinfish or sardines on the bottom, and live ones under a float are my first strategies. Whichever method gets hit first is usually how I will fish that area.

Getting an Early Start!!!

Summer is definitely upon us and the weather has been extremely warm by mid day. I have been starting my trips a lot earlier than normal to capitalize on the cooler water temps in the morning and beat the heat of the day. Snook fishing has been the main objective and they are biting very good in the early dawn hours. Tidal flow is also key as low tide water temps are reaching near 90 degrees in the peak sun hours. The incoming tides are producing big snook around the rock structures while outgoing tides are funneling snook into cuts near the passes, waiting for bait to be pushed to them. Grunts caught in traps along with medium sized pinfish are working well in the clear beach waters. Greenbacks are becoming harder to catch in the north Pinellas area, typical of this time of year. Redfishing has slowed a bit, especially after passing the new moon phase. There are some redfish seeking cooler waters along the same structure that tends to hold the snook and trout. Rock jetties and troughs along the beaches are the targeted areas that are producing the most fish. Hydration is so important. Drink water even when you are not thirsty. Heat related illness can sneak up on you and by then it’s often too late to catch up on fluids.

Fishing is Hot, Summer is Here!!!

Large Snook on Clearwater Fishing Charters Snook are stacking up on the north Pinellas beaches for Clearwater Fishing Charters. The water temp is consistently in the low 80’s and they are eating with regularity. There are several swashes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs that are holding numbers of the smaller males, but the larger females are occupying structure like jetties or rockpiles. Greenbacks are still plentiful when chummed up on the flats although grunts and pinfish are getting attacked more often by the bigger fish. I like to hook those bigger baits near the tail, causing them to swim down and away from the boat. They cover more area and are likely to swim right into the strike zone. The trout bite has been spectacular lately. Many of the same regions that are productive for snook will hold the larger female trout. However, on a recent trip with kids for a local summer fish camp, we caught several trout by slowly drifting the grass flats in 3 to 6 feet of water, especially near to the passes. Using small sardines for bait we also caught jacks, ladyfish and small sharks. Tarpon are showing very good in the passes and along the beach. I’ve had success drifting larger baits like threadfins or pinfish under a float with about 6 feet of leader and a 4/0 circle hook. Once I locate a pod or a lane that they are traveling I will try to lead them a few yards.