tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By DOUG HEMMER
Published September 3, 2006


Most anglers wait for the opening of snook season so they can take a legal size one home to eat. As long as you skin the filet, snook are one of the tastiest fish to swim our waters. The problem with catching a legal size snook after the season opens is their location.

Most of the schools have moved off the open beach areas and into structure. Bridges, docks and mangrove islands inside the passes are where most will be hanging throughout the month. The pilings around the docks and bridges, plus the root systems of the mangrove trees, give snook an equal chance at escaping by using this structure to cut anglers off during the fight. Using grunts as bait and heavy tackle only increase the chances of landing a legal snook.

Grunts are a favorite treat of snook. You can buy them at some of the local bait shops, but your best bet is to catch your own. They will be livelier and you have a better chance at getting the big ones. Use a No. 8 hook and a small split shot rigged to a lightweight rod. Use small pieces of frozen squid and work the dropoff on the edge of the flats that drop into a deep channel. Catch a dozen or two grunts and rig your rods with 50-pound-test line and an 80-pound leader. Hooks should range from a 5/0 to a 7/0.

Anchor next to a bridge fender and cast a nose-hooked grunt next to the pilings. Use enough weight to keep the bait from being moved by the current. The best action is during the start and finish of the outgoing tide.

Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.