Things are definitely in full swing in the north Pinellas region. A lot of snook have shown up in their usual areas, several large females included. Although there had been a fair number of snook around, their numbers have increased in just the last two weeks. As usual, they are beginning to look for large meals such as pinfish, grunts and large sardines or threadfin herring. The smaller male fish are still willing to eat medium size greenbacks, but bigger females are looking for bigger meals.
When I find a group of snook staged up along the beach I always try to lead them by casting my baits up tide allowing it to flow down to the snook. Landing right in the middle of a pod will often spook them and prevent them from eating. I’m using 2/0 – 3/0 circle hooks when casting the larger baits. Also, 30 pound fluorocarbon leader and even that doesn’t hold up to some of the 15 to 20 pound fish. The water has been very clear this week so I’m trying to locate groups of fish that are in silty, or slightly deeper water. They tend to want to eat more often than the fish that are in super shallow, very clear water.
Tarpon have also flooded in all of the passes north of Clearwater. Again, like the snook, the very clear shallow water makes it challenging to hook up. Fly fisherman are successful in that element, however when using bait the grass flats just to the inside of the passes have been the most productive. Schools of tarpon will pour into the pass on incoming tides and filter through the grass flats foraging for food after a long migration along the beach. The early dawn bite has been best, but right after the turn of the tide has been good in the afternoon as well.