Summer fishing has arrived. Fish are in transition moving from their favorite spring spots in creek mouths, rivers, and back country flats to the passes, swashes along the beach and bridges. This is a great time to target and catch big line siders. The key is timing and preparation!
Let’s start with Snook. This is the time of the year they spawn, so handle all fish with extreme care and remember the season is closed as of May 1st. Most fish are stacked up along the bridges, passes and beaches. Free lining a greenback, pinfish, or finger mullet in the areas mentioned above will land you a trophy fish. Night fishing is a great time to fish for Snook since they are nocturnal feeders. If fishing at night, target docks with good tidal flow, dock lights, and good consumption of bait.
Redfish are still schooled up on the flats and are still feeding. Look for big schools of mullet and there should be reds mixed in eating the crustaceans that the mullet are stirring up. A shrimp, greenback, or even cut bait under a Cajun Thunder cork or free lined is a deadly combination. Keep an eye on water temperature, as it reaches the 90 degree mark the fish will move to deeper water. Target the shallow flats in the early morning before the flats get too hot.
Tarpon are invading most bridges, passes, and beaches. There are various ways to target the Silver King. You can sight cast pods of fish along the beaches. Free line live or dead bait in most of the passes and bridges, or fish the edges of the ship channels throughout the bay. There are many types of bait to use for Tarpon. A few of my favorites are Pinfish, Threadfins, Greenbacks, and Pass Crabs. Remember to bring your big rods. These fish are very big and strong and a flats rod is no match.
Captain Jason Prieto is a USCG licensed captain and an active member of the Florida Guides Association and The National Association of Charter Boat Operators.