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Captain's corner

By PETE KATSARELIS

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001


In winters past, snook fishing at night has been excellent. Because of the extremely cold evenings, however, this season has not been nearly as productive. That is, until last week.

Warm night temperatures again have the line-siders feeding actively around lighted docks and bridges. Since these fish are feeding primarily on the concentrations of tiny glass minnows, which gather in the light, the smallest, least intrusive bait generally get the best results. Small jigs, plugs and live shrimp work well, but the most productive method seems to be a fly. Any small white bucktail or crystal flash fly, such as a Crazy Charlie, should be effective. An eight-weight rod with a 10-pound tapered leader and 2 feet of fluorocarbon shock tippet is an ideal setup. Casts initially should be made to the outside edges of the light. Try a slow, methodical retrieve at first. If this doesn't draw a strike, speed it up to sharper, more erratic twitches. If after numerous casts you still haven't enticed a bite, cast into the center of the light as a last resort. Make sure, however, that you only place the leader and the fly into the brightest area. Don't drape it with the fly line. If you do, you'll probably spook the fish.

- Pete Katsarelis fishes out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 439-FISH.

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