The Tampa Bay Times

Warm temperatures have helped to stimulate several species of fish in north Pinellas County. The trout bite is still consistent in St. Joseph Sound, however snook are starting to appear beyond the mouths and creeks of the backcountry. They are transitioning to some of the islands on their way to the beaches. Although they will not inhabit the beaches in full force until late spring, it’s interesting to see them this early in the year approaching to the west from the mainland. Scaled sardines are spotty, but when cast netted, can attract an aggressive bite from snook looking for an easy meal after hibernating through winter. Clear waters have resulted in tying lighter leader material to get bites from these crafty and finicky fish. Redfish are making a strong appearance also. The tides have not been very strong or high this week, so perimeter fishing around oyster bars and docks have provided high numbers of redfish. Live shrimp, or cut pieces of pinfish have been my first choice. Larger fish are definitely preferring the pinfish while smaller fish are taking the shrimp. Nearshore fishing has been productive as well. Spanish mackerel are starting to show up, chasing schools of threadfin herring within 3 – 5 miles of shore. If the weather stays mild, we will see kingfish appearing in better numbers very soon providing lots of rod bending action when fishing inshore is overcrowded or slow.