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Season set to close so try passes for snook


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 27, 2000

Snook season will be closed as of June 1, but there will still be plenty of action throughout the summer.

The snook are stacking up in local passes from Hurricane Pass to those around Anclote Key for their summer spawn. At this time of year, these fish will eat everything in sight.

The trick to catching them is getting an early start. This will ensure your getting to the areas you want to fish. Snook can't resist live, hand-size grunts or frisky greenbacks. Remember, these fish are full of eggs so handle with care when releasing them.

This is also a great time of the year to catch sharks, and there are a few different ways to catch them.

Blacktip sharks gather around the sand bars on the north and south ends of Anclote Key. You can sight-cast directly to them. When sight-fishing, use a trolling motor or push pole to get within catching range.

These sharks will eat topwater lures and live greenbacks. When fishing the clear shallow water, use 50-pound monofilament leader with a shank hook. You may get bit off more, but you'll get more bites than with a steel leader.

You can also anchor up on the flats of Anclote Key or along the intracoastal waters around Honeymoon Island and put out a chum bag. This will bring the sharks to you and also may attract cobia and even tarpon.

This method can be used day or night. Use a steel leader with this method. The fish are attracted by the chum and are in a feeding mood. Live pinfish or greenbacks under a float are the bait of choice.

There is early morning tarpon action around Howard Park and off Bailey's Bluff. You can see these fish breaking the surface.

When fishing for tarpon in such shallow water, it is very important to use a stealthy approach. They can be very spooky. The fish will eat live greenbacks or pinfish, or try a slow-sinking lure for great action.

-- Capt. Mike Manning can be reached at (727) 848-0795 (home), (727) 992-3836 (cell) or by e-mail at

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