With heavy freshwater runoff and high levels of sediment still suspended in the water column, inshore fishing has been a little tougher. One of the best options has been snook fishing. The linesiders have a very high tolerance for fresh water and have been feeding better than many other inshore species.
Jumbo scaled sardines are the best bet and have been fairly easy to come by. These bigger baits provide more flash and vibration, which makes them easier for snook to locate in dark water. Many North Suncoast creeks and rivers have been flowing at maximum, which causes outgoing tides to be even stronger. This fast-moving water is where the snook have been feeding on small fish that have been washed downstream. Setting up at points, small islands or other places with small breaks in the current and drifting free-lined bait has been producing the best. Check your bait often to make sure your line has not caught grass or other debris. A single blade of grass is often enough to tip off a big snook that something is not quite right about the bait he is thinking about eating.
A bonus to fishing the rivers and creeks lately has been small tarpon. Most are in the 8- to 20-pound range, and they also love the big sardines. The juvenile tarpon bite is usually best early in the morning, but a few may be encountered at any time.