With mid-day water temperatures on the flats reaching 80 degrees snook are now on the move. Hungry and looking to put some weight on after a lean winter, the snook are feeding from sun-up to sun-down as long as the tide is moving.
Mangrove shorelines through ought Tampa bay are littered with schools of medium sized snook. Many times flats adjacent to creek mouths will be some of the first stops for the transitioning snook. Typically, finding the mullet schools in these areas will lead you to the fish.
Working walking style top-water lures especially during low light hours is a great way to quickly cover water and find the fish. When the sun is high, paddle tail soft plastics in the avocado red flake color have been working.
Without question live bait will out produce the artificial lures, however we are still early in the bait season and cast-netting sardines has been inconsistent the last few days. Bait schools often hold in deeper water this time of year and can move over night. Scan areas with bird activity often near the bay bridges. At times the bait will show itself by flicking on the surface, when its holding deeper knowing the difference of what glass minnow schools and sardines look like on your bottom machine will cut a lot of search time out.
Scanning crab trap floats for triple tail is still a good option in both Tampa Bay and the near-shore Gulf. Most of the fish are short of the 18 inch mark, however there are fish up to ten pounds out there so passing on the small fish will give you more time to find a big one.
Capt. Tyson Wallerstein
Flats Monster Inshore Fishing