Live, artificial baits work for linesider hookups

Fishing around Anna Maria remains consistently good inshore and nearshore. Fishing along the beaches is especially good for catch-and-release snook.

Walking the shoreline in the morning or evening when the seas are calm is a great opportunity to some sight casting for snook — a typically back-country species.

For a hookup, an assortment of baits will work. Live shiners are the best, although sometimes using small whiting, mojarras or pinfish can be productive, too. 

If you’re not into catching bait, you can always try artificials. One of my preferences is the DOA Terroreyz. This small soft plastic mimics a shiner as you jig it through the trough in the shallow waters by the shore. I’ve had many occasions when the snook couldn’t seem to get enough of my artificials. 

Other lures that work well are the Yo-Zuri pins minnow or crystal minnow. And if you’re a minimalist, the old faithful white bucktail jig will sometimes get the job done.

Lastly, for you fly enthusiasts, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Sight-casting in clear water to 20-40 inch snook ranks at the top for any fly fisher.

On my Southernaire charters, I’m working the deeper grass areas for catch-and-release spotted seatrout. Free-lining live shiners over flats in 6-8 feet of water is working well to attract a bite. Mixed in with the trout are Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, ladyfish and even some blue runners, which adds quite a variety to the bite. Not to mention, all of these fish listed are fully capable of putting a good bend on the rod and even pulling some drag. 

Snook fishing around the mangrove shorelines is proving to be tops for sport anglers. Most catches are falling 20-30 inches. While targeting snook, I’m seeing some catch-and-release redfish on the hook — always a welcome sight.

Snook and redfish remain closed to harvest to help recoup from last summer’s red tide. This closure is helping these local favorites some time to spawn, which will help rebuild their numbers after the fish kills.