The Tampa Bay Times

Stable spring weather has invited great fishing along the north Pinellas coast. This time of year is my favorite because we start to see activity from several species. Snook have started to creep through passes and on to rocky structure along the beaches. They are eating live bait including sardines, threadfins and grunts. Usually in the beginning of snook season they are more cooperative. As the season goes by, they become smart and are a little more finicky about biting. Trout are also very plentiful along the barrier islands and in the same locations that snook are likely to inhabit. Although snook will hang tight to structure, trout will often roam little farther around on the grass patches and sandy bottom. This also makes them very vulnerable to dolphin. Redfish have started schooling on the flats in Clearwater and north. Rising tides will allow them to push up to the mangroves, making it easier to target them. I will usually move slowly along the bush line with my trolling motor until I see a few scoot off, I will then pull out and try to target the direction they are going with live pinfish or cut pieces of mullet. Once the school settles down you can expect to catch several fish as long as you are quiet and keep your distance. A few Tarpon have been spotted in the Clearwater area but definitely not in the numbers I expect to see next month. However, May is always a good time to look for Tarpon rolling and moving over the shallow sandbars on the exterior of the barrier islands from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs.