Kids Camp Summertime Snookin’
School is out for the Summer and that means it’s time for Kids Fishing Camp. For the past several years, I have been working with Florida Fantasy Fishing Camp to take our next generation of avid anglers out on the Bay. This year has been nothing short of steady action and good times! With live bait as plentiful as it has been, finding a stellar Snook bite is the ticket for these youngsters.
Monday through Friday starts with a quick bait run and stop at the USF St. Pete Campus to pick up my group of (4) campers. From 9am to 1pm each day I get the opportunity to hang out and show them how to become better anglers, stewards of the sea, and most of all catch a bunch of fish. As we push through Summer, the weather always decides what we are able to do each morning. When the weather is nicer, it’s a bay fishing day and we tend to keep the inshore fishing for the less than fair conditions.
Snook are always a fan favorite and often times what the kids enjoy fishing for the most. As the bigger females make their way to offshore reefs, bridges, and passes they begin to congregate in larger groups preparing for their spawn. Inshore, our juvenile schools are peppered down coastal mangrove shorelines and deeper troughs along healthy grass flats. One key to focus on is food source when trying to locate numbers of fish. Find the bait fish schools (glass minnows, pilchards, threadfin) and you will most certainly find gamefish. The last few weeks we have been focusing on sandy potholes adjacent to deep mangroves. A live pilchard rigged “free-line” has been our most productive setup however there are times when adding a snap float will trigger a better strike. I prefer the floats when in grassier areas when I need to keep the bait suspended or along deep mangroves in an effort to keep the bait in the strike zone. A lot of the areas have extremely clear water and dropping down on leader size is also something mindful of if they get picky. A 20lb leader paired with a 2/O-3/O demon circle hook should do the trick but there are times that we have dropped to 15lb leader and changed the bite. Just remember to adjust your drag accordingly and you might just be surprised what happens!
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