Snook Season Re-opens September 1st

2007-08-12 15:36:59
Tampa, Florida - Saltwater Fishing Report
Woody Gore

August was a scorcher with humidity’s in the ninety’s but we’re still catching fish. You need to pick your times and places but the bites been fairly consistent. Perhaps not the numbers we’d like but still catching. Warm summer waters make fish lethargic for most of the day but when fishing at night they seem more active. Many summer anglers find nighttime fishing enjoyable and provided the mosquitoes don’t carry you off the fishing is relatively productive.

Bait in the bay is small but deeper grass flats and heavy chumming can still bring in some larger greenbacks. However large greenbacks, is not always the answer to inshore species. It’s called match the hatch and because they will be eating the smaller baits you should fish with them. Remember you don’t need to black out the live well you only need enough for fishing. With water temperatures in the low to mid-nineties and the trick is keeping your baits alive in this warm water. Less bait consumes less oxygen and for this reason less is more. Here’s a tip: buy an inexpensive swimming pool thermometer to keep in your livewell. Now freeze several bottles of water and keep them in your cooler. When your water temperatures soar above ninety add one to livewell. Fresh water and bait does not mix, so never empty the contents into the livewell, just place the entire bottle into the water.

Threadfins are no problem and throwing a ten foot, ¾ to 1 inch net should get all you need if you’re looking for some lively mackerel action. You’ll find large schools all over the bay in deeper water. Mackerel also take small silver spoons fished under and behind an Old Bayside Paradise Popper. I say behind because if you need to make some noise with the cork. Make sure to have sufficient leader behind the popper (at least 36 inches). Seaguar 50 pound is working for me except when a small black tip shark decides to indulge himself. If the sharks become a problem go to 85 pound Seaguar and long shank inexpensive hooks. Mackerel have plenty of teeth capable of inflicting a nasty bite so bending down the barb on your hooks makes unhooking with your de-hooker much easier.

Here’ another tip about handling sharks you might catch while mackerel fishing. Just because their not six foot long, don’t think the smaller ones are a cake walk. Small sharks can be extremely dangerous because despite their size they are strong and very flexible. Grabbing one by the tail could result in a malicious bite if you’re not careful. If you must handle them grab it firmly behind the head and control the tail with your other hand.

At a recent fishing show I came across a newer style of Dehooker manufactured by ARC DEHOOKER, a Florida company located in Ormand Beach. They make fish friendly de-hookers for all sizes from panfish to big game. I had the opportunity to use the 24 inch model recently on some sharks and was impressed with how easy it worked. It keeps your hand safe while quickly releasing the fish unharmed. If you practice catch and release and want to see this new tool visit, their website at


Snook season re-opens September 1st with the new rules taking effect. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made some rule changes which reduces the Snook recreational daily bag limit from two-fish per person to one-fish on the Florida’s Atlantic Coast which means a one-fish daily bag limit statewide.

The rules also change the 27-34 inch slot limit to 28-32 inches in Atlantic Coast waters and 28-33 inches on Florida’s Gulf Coast including the Everglades National Park and Monroe County waters.

Additionally, the rule change added the first half of December and the month of February to the Dec. 15 - Jan. 31 and May - August closed harvest seasons for Snook in the Gulf, Everglades and Monroe County. However, the Dec. 15 - Jan. 31 and June - August closed harvest seasons in Atlantic waters remain unchanged.

With all the rule changes and varying size and bag limits it’s probably a good idea to keep a copy of the state fishing regulations handy.

Fishing should begin returning to normal as the temperatures ease up somewhat. It’s still going to be hot but perhaps the humidity will lighten some. Night fishing will produce good catches of Snook, Redfish and Trout around any structure… especially lighted docks. Work any good topwater lure through the light line and hang on. Live shrimp and greenbacks free-lined or under a popping cork always works around the mangroves and in sandy potholes.

Mangrove shorelines and vast grass flats offer excellent Snook, Redfish and Trout fishing from Tampa’s southeast shore including Alafia River, Little Manatee River, Picnic Island, Simmons Park, Bishop Harbor, Joe Island and down into Bradenton and Sarasota. There is also good fishing around Weedon Island, Fourth Street, Cypress Flats, Rocky Point, Double Branch, and the Culbreath Isle Flats. The Inter-coastal waterways from Tierra Verde, Pass a Grille and Boca Ciega also offers good fishing. Look for fair size trout on the deeper edges of grass flats including Pinellas Point, Culbreath Isle, Veterans/Bayside, Weedon Island and the Joe Island Flats.


Cobia fishing should continue as they travel around the flats with large rays, sharks or manatees. Toss your bait or lure somewhere near the fish and the fights on. They’re not picky about what they eat just get it close and make it move. They also frequent channel markers and channel buoys especially those holding schools of greenbacks or threadfins. Hang a chum block over the side and if they’re close they’ll come.


Tarpon anglers will find them moving into Tampa Bay and around the bridges. Bridge Tarpon are always fun and threadfins, crabs and larger scaled sardines tossed directly into their path should do the trick. Pick a bridge with a good light-line at night and sight cast them.


If you’re looking for some great light tackle action look no further. Tampa Bay’s full of threadfins and big mackerel. Just drift or anchor around the bait, toss out a white bait or threadfin, shinny spoon or gotcha lure and hang on. Mackerel also take small silver spoons or shiny artificial’s fished behind an Old Bayside Paradise Popper. Make sure to have sufficient leader behind the popper (at least 36 inches). Seaguar 50 pound is working for me except when a small black tip shark decides to indulge himself. Mackerel have plenty of teeth capable of inflicting a nasty bite so bending down the barb on your hooks makes unhooking with de-hooker much easier.


Nice catches of mangrove snapper reported around almost any structure especially around the full moon. Pick any artificial reef, rock pile, pilings or marker, find some small greenbacks or shrimp, a # 1 hook, 20 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, ¼ ounce egg sinker or larger (depending on the current) make a knocker rig and have fun. Limit catches reported around the bay with some weighing 3 to 6 pounds but most average around 1 to 2 pound.

Give Me a Call and Let’s Go Fishing > A native Floridian Captain Woody Gore’s been guiding and fishing Florida waters for over 50 year’s and the results are always the same “Memorable Fishing Adventures”.

For information or to book trips call his cell: 813-477-3814, office: 813-982-2034 or email him at Be sure to visit his website at: it has plenty of information.” Captain Woody is a Company and Corporate Events Specialist offering single or multiple boat charters.

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Woody Gore

About The Author: Captain Woody Gore

Company: Captain Woody Gore Charters

Area Reporting: Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg

Bio: Born and raised in Tampa, Capt. Woody developed a passion for fishing as a child and years later, he is still expanding his fishing knowledge base and skill levels. Now with over 50 years of worldwide fishing experience he does everything possible to create an unforgettable and world class fishing adventure.

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