It’s no secret that this time of year the snook are on the beaches! The trick to getting these fish to eat is going to be influenced more by tidal movement than the time of day. They are feeding during the stronger of the daily tides and when they start to eat, you’ll be catching them nonstop! This is when everyone wants to catch their “personal best.”
You can use any of your favorite live baits this time of year. Snook aren’t picky at all–they just want something to eat! For your stronger tidal movement, rig your bait on a small knocker rig to keep it down in one place. For slower tidal movement, you can freeline it. Use 15 to 20-pound braid paired up with 40-pound fluorocarbon leader and a 3/0 to 4/0 hook. Even though these fish are in the open, you’ll still want to use a quality leader to prevent you from losing your trophy. I really like using a brand called Team Fishline. It seems to be a very abrasion resistant leader along with being affordable for every angler. As far as the artificial side of things goes for these fish, use either a Flair Hawk jig made by GSJ, or a jerkbait rigged on a 1/4 jig and bounce it off the bottom. Those two artificial baits should do the trick. Especially at early morning or in the dark.
Redfish are schooled up in great numbers this time of year. The trick to catching them is to get on them at the lower tides. With the waters being 90-plus degrees, these fish like shade just like we do. Find your flats with seagrass and bars at the lower tides and, as the tide rises, you’ll want to have your high tide spot chummed up. That scent in the water will keep those fish drawn out and prevent them from going deep into the mangroves.
Grouper season opened June 1st, and it has been a great bite for the offshore guys. We have gotten reports of a boat’s limit being caught within an hour of the trip. Find your bottom that has good ledges and big peaks. For bait, drop down pinfish, grunt or sardines. Remember, the bigger the tide the better the bite. It’s just like inshore fishing.
Cobia have been hanging around, but not in the same numbers as the spring. I like setting up around any structure and dropping out chum bags. You’ll have to get through some sharks, but with some patience the cobia should swim right into the chum slick and make for an easy target. Any cut bait works for them as they tend to be on the lazier side when they are looking for a meal.
Don’t forget that snook, redfish and trout are all closed until at least May 2020. So, practice your catch and release so we can have a great fishery in our future!