Snook Season is Winding Down

Snook Fishing in Tampa Bay

So, it was a glorious weekend for fishing- lots of sunshine, clear water, ample bait, decent tides. I hit Merry Pier Saturday mornign, stocked up on select shrimp, and freelined a big one under the pier on a 7′ Star rod and Shimano 6500 Baitrunner spooled with 20′ mono. BAM! 1 shrimp, 1 snook. It came in just under legal size at 27″, so back it went. Only snook of the day, as it turns out. There were lots hanging around, easy to spot in the gin clear water. There was a scool of about 30 cruising around, including some real bruisers, but they weren’t chewing. Think I’ll try again this week after sundown.

But, while the snook were reluctant to bite, the grouper were not. I must have caught two dozen, up to about 19″. They were in the pilings, under the dock, and in the rockpiles in front of the pier. Even caught a couple of red grouper! Spanish Mackeral were patrolling in packs, occassionally slashing through the schools of glass minnows. I caught a few nice jacks, always fun for a fight.

Another encouraging sign was my first mangrove snapper of the year- a fiesty foot long specimen. I saw a few more hovering around- soon, they’ll be so thick that they’re a nuisance. Also, I saw a guy pull up a 17″ pompano that hit a live shrimp on the outgoing tide. He was only fishing about 30 feet in front of the pier. Yes, it’s that time of year- everything starting to fire up!

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