The weather patterns may be unpredictable, but that hasn’t stopped fishing enthusiasts from enjoying their time on the water. As we embrace a dry summer, the temperatures rise, creating the perfect conditions for an unforgettable inshore fishing experience. Tampa Bay offers a plethora of opportunities, with enticing options such as targeting Snapper and Grouper on the wrecks, pursuing Cobia on the outer flats, and witnessing the mesmerizing spectacle of Redfish schools tailing in the shallows during the early mornings. While these options sound enticing, there’s one angling adventure that stands above the rest – summer snook fishing in Tampa Bay.
Snook Fishing in the Summer
This type of fishing holds a special place in my heart, as it has always been my favorite target species. Growing up fishing the South Shore of Tampa Bay, I can attest that it offers some of the finest Snook fishing in the entire West Central region. Summer Snook fishing is an absolute blast, especially now when the waters are teeming with an astonishing number of fish, albeit mostly smaller ones. Due to the abundance of smaller bait on the flats, using a 1¼ inch mesh net is recommended. Fortunately, bait is plentiful during this time of year. Instead of spending the entire day searching for larger bait, it’s best to head out early and return around noon, as the flats become uncomfortably hot afterward. For optimal success, focus your efforts on the outer flats, specifically targeting the deeper potholes with strong tidal flow. These areas hold an abundance of bait and provide cooler water conditions for the Snook.
Techniques and Tips for Summer Snook Fishing Success in Tampa Bay
I’ve experienced remarkable success with the 4 Horseman Floats when targeting Snook. These floats provide added weight, allowing for longer casts, which is especially beneficial when using small bait during the summer. Downsizing your hook to a #1 Daiichi circle is a perfect match for Snook fishing in this season. While larger Snook may be more lethargic and less abundant, they can still be targeted and caught with the right techniques, patience, and the appropriate bait.
If you’re seeking bigger Snook, focus your efforts around locations such as the Spoil Islands, Rocky Banks, wrecks, and Docks, among others. Once you’ve located them, the challenge lies in enticing them to bite. Over the years, I’ve pondered their preferred bait and why they sometimes refuse to eat. Through extensive time on the water and studying their patterns, I’ve come to the realization that Snook don’t feed frequently, but when they do, they prefer an easy and substantial meal.
To increase your chances of landing that trophy Snook, I’ve found great success using dead bait soaked on the bottom. While this method may not be the most exciting, be prepared to catch a variety of other species like Catfish and Stingrays along the way. However, by the end of the day, you’ll have significantly improved your odds of hooking that long-awaited trophy Snook you’ve always dreamed of.
Upgrade Your Tackle for Structure Fishing:
To handle the challenges of fishing in areas with structure, it’s advised to upgrade your tackle to medium-sized gear. Consider pairing a reliable Daiwa 4000 reel with a sturdy St Croix 8-foot medium-heavy rod. This combination provides the strength and control necessary to maneuver around obstacles and subdue hard-fighting Snook.
Bump Up Your Line and Hooks:
Matching your line and hooks to the demanding nature of Snook fishing is crucial. Opt for a 3/0 Daiichi circle hook, which offers excellent hook-setting capabilities while reducing the risk of gut hooking. To handle the strength and agility of Snook, upgrade to 50lb braided line, ensuring sufficient strength and sensitivity. Complement it with a 40 to 50lb fluorocarbon leader for increased stealth and abrasion resistance, particularly when fishing in structure-rich areas.