When targeting snook with recreational anglers on board, Tampa Fishing Guides are often asked "Why are snook so hard to catch?" It is likely that this perception is the result of several factors.  First, during the summer months, snook are visible, abundant and predictable in regards to where they are found.  Second, they tend to feed in short bursts.  The result is that anglers see fish that baits are being presented to but often don't hook fish. In a typical Tampa Fishing Charter, at least two thirds of the trip will be spent casting to fish that won't bite.  The hope is that, if baits are presented to enough different groups of fish, one of these groups will eventually go on the feed and numerous fish may be caught...and this can make the whole day. Land three large fish in fifteen minutes and a few hours of casting time is quickly forgotten.  Another factor that plays into triggering bites from these fish is presentation. Although hyper aggressive fish will eat a poorly presented bait or even a piece of dead bait off the bottom, most bites are the result of proper presentation.  Assuming that these fish are being pursued with live bait, one statement best sums up the key to proper presentation.  The angler must keep the shortest amount of line between the rod tip and the bait while still allowing the bait to swim in a natural and uninhibited way.  When wind and current are factors, which they often are in the beach environments where snook spend their summers, accomplishing the above may be harder than it seems.  This skill is critical to both triggering and feeling the strike...which may be very light from a large fish. Snook will also eat at different times in the tide at different locations.  This gives those who spend a lot of time on the water a distinct advantage as these feeding times can be tracked so that arrival at certain spots is during the most productive feeding periods.

Catching Big Snook Off Clearwater beach

Tarpon numbers off local beaches and passes have been good for this area over the last few weeks.  On certain days, large numbers have rolled through the passes over much of the day.  Fish are also being seen up inside the sound early in the morning.  As in years past, the most productive time to put a hook in their mouth appears to be at either end of the day, during the lower light periods.

Redfishing has been incredibly consistent for the last few months, which is good and bad.  What's good is that the average size fish has been 26 - 27 inches with many over slot fish landed. The bad news is that it has been difficult over the last few strong tide phases to catch more than 5 or 6 fish an outing...and there have been days where just securing a limit has been work.  Several shorelines are holding fish but these fish remain scattered.  One day might start of with an immediate bite where it might be thirty minutes of prospecting an area the next day before the first fish is hooked.  The redfish bite should be strong right now.  Hopefully, the situation will get better and several large schools will roll into the St Joseph's Sound over the next few weeks.

Beach Bonanza for Snook and Trout

Quality sized trout are being caught along the beach in conjunction with snook but this fishing has begun to slow a bit and will continue to do so. When customers request a trout dinner however, pockets of decent sized fish can still be found and when located, can produce a fairly quick limit. Many Tampa Fishing Guides find it difficult to chase down average sized trout when opportunities for much bigger snook and redfish abound. Whitebait is the key bait to harvesting trout right now.

Caledesi Island Redfishing producing quality upper slot fish

If looking at big fish while staying out of the 90 degree summer heat is of interest, visit the Florida Aquarium. Another great way to a spend a family day in air conditioned comfort would be a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry.  Lots of interesting stuff to keep the kids entertained. Good luck and good fishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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