After four months of closures, snook season reopens Monday. Look for them along beaches, in backwaters and in deep canals.
The mangrove islands in the southern parts of Tampa Bay are great places to find "schooly" snook of 3 to 7 pounds, and 6- to 10-pound tackle is good. Work the mangrove shorelines from a long cast away. Polling is the best approach, but trolling motors also work. Toss your favorite topwater in early mornings and late evenings. Use a gold spoon during the day.
Gulf passes hold good numbers of fish and will until daylight hours shorten and the water cools. Big fish of 10 to 20 pounds are common, so heavier gear in the 25-pound range is needed. Live bait is best: Pinfish, grunts (pigfish), sardines and jumbo shrimp do the job. With live bait remember to use a hook that fits the bait. Using too big a hook for the bait eventually wears it down and kills it. Usually a 2/0 to 4/0 live-bait hook works fine.
Deep residential canals close to main water movement are a good bet. There will be some decent fish in them, so heavy gear is required.
- Captain Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at 727 510-4376 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org