Bait is everywhere, and what’s even better is the amount of fish that are being caught this time of year! This is a prime time to go out and catch anything from your favorite inshore fish, or go offshore to catch kingfish and big snapper. Another fish that is overlooked this time of year are the sharks. There are a ton of big sharks being caught in the shallower waters ranging from 5 to 8 feet long. We have been using big cut mullet and jacks cut in half to target these beauties. I use an 8/0 to 9/0 Owner circle hook and a 2-ounce knocker rig with 100-pound mono leader. I try to stay away from the wire leaders. It makes it that much easier to cut the line if need be. Any of your grouper rod setups will work just fine for these fish. Just make sure you have enough line on the reel, because they will certainly peel some off!
Redfish are in great numbers as of now. It’s not hard this time of year to catch 15 to 20 redfish off of one spot. These fish have been really responsive to topwater lures first thing in the morning. Fish your schools of reds at the low tide and cast just on the outside of the school to prevent spooking them. Try and use a heavier topwater such as a Top Pup or the bigger Skitter Walk. As far as live bait goes, they are eating everything thrown at them from shrimp, pinfish and ladyfish to greenbacks. They aren’t picky this time of year. If you have someone who is looking to catch their first redfish, now is the time. No matter which bait you decide to use, make sure you have plenty of it. Free line it using a 2/0 hook and 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. Try to hit these at the very first of the incoming tide.
Snook have started to move to their breeding grounds. Once they are fully established there, they are ready to feed. Use 3/0 hooks with 40-pound fluorocarbon leader and your favorite snook bait. If you like artificial, try using swim baits or jigs. They seem to have the best luck this time of year.
The stronger tides should produce the most hits and fish. Make sure you handle these fish with care, as they are out there to reproduce. Make sure you support the belly while holding it and get it back in the water as quickly as possible.