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Outdoors

Daily fishing report

By DAVE WALKER
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 22, 2003

Big snook have started to move out of the creeks and onto the flats. Warm afternoons offer great opportunities to catch these fish. This is some of the best fishing of the year.

Recent trips have forced a slight upgrade to heavier gear. Snook of this size, 30 inches and larger, head for the nearest structure, guaranteed. If a fish heads under the mangroves, there is one option: grab the spool of the reel and drag the fish out and away from the trees. This is a contingency plan that has put some nice fish in the boat. It is a certainty that the line will get cut or wrapped around the roots, allowing your fish to snatch the hook out of its mouth. Either way, the fish will get away. Braided lines might be especially handy in this situation.

Live bait is the best bet for snook. Some of the soft plastic jerk baits have been strong lately, too. Clear water has allowed some sight-fishing situations. It is always exciting to see the fish charge out of its way and whack a bait. Lead the fish by several feet or yards if possible to avoid spooking it by the entry splash.

Live bait takes a considerable amount of effort and should be calculated into the overall equation.

Mackerel should be back any time. Water temperature is rising and will provide some excellent fishing. Regardless of what people say, mackerel is fun to catch and is delicious in a broiling pan.

-- Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 831-0355 or e-mail at www.snookfish.com.

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