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Captain's corner

By DAVE WALKER

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 11, 2001


Warm days and light wind have enabled anglers to have some fantastic flats fishing trips. Snook and reds are pouring onto the shallow grass beds behind schedule, but they are making up for lost time. Live greenbacks are the bait of choice. If they are not available, gold spoons, chartreuse, soft plastic 1/8-ounce jigs and hard surface baits work well.

The preferred live bait rig is a No. 2 live bait hook attached to a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader, 2 feet in length, topped with a float. Fishing this way quite often produces violent strikes. However, many times the fish will miss the bait. Sometimes three or four pops are needed before the fish nails the target. Do not set the hook until the float is down. Many fish opportunities are lost by setting the hook and spooking the fish.

Boat noise is the one thing you can control. A loud noise on the flats can chase fish. Take extra care to soundproof your approach. Noise above the waterline is a different story. Last weekend we were fishing right under the air show at MacDill Air Force Base. Two days in a row, as the Blue Angels were over our heads, we nailed nice snook. Mackerel have made the scene and will take just about anything. Use the lightest wire leader available. Single strand is best. It can be attached to mono by tying an albright knot.An example of this knot is on the back of most wire packages.

- Capt. Dave Walker charters out of Old Tampa Bay and can be reached at (813) 837-0213.

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