Tarpon Springs fishing guide, Capt. Rich Knox of longtime Fishing guide service, Absolute Florida Flats Fishing says the opening of the fall Snook fishing season began on September 1st, most fish with the warm water temperatures are still around the beach’s and barrier islands. Snook of all sizes from big oversize 34″ plus fish to the 20″ juvenile Snook are in transition, you might find one here and another in a totally different setting. The bait of choice is a medium to extra large pilchard (whitebait ), these baits are full of protein and provide these fish with what it takes to survive a cold winter, on the sand though they still will eat a large pinfish, but with the returning migration of the pilchard spawn in July/August these bait-fish from an inch or 2 long to the full grown adults are abundant on all the beach’s and fishing flats. Go early in the morning to catch your bait at sunrise and load your livewell so you can live chum them into a feeding mode. Be very careful when releasing, hold them by the mouth and support there belly while you have a photo opportunity before returning to the water (quickly). Keeper size Snook are from 28″ to 33″ one per angler, they are a sought after fish to eat !
There have been some large schools of red-fish showing up around the barrier islands as they should gather steadily for there inshore spawn usually in late September through October, large fish from just in the slot 27″ to bull reds 39″ will also be feeding heavily on the pilchard school’s. The presence of mullet lets you know there is enough oxygen in the water on these low tides and warmer day’s, periods around the big moons are best, silver dollar sized pinfish also work extremely well also. All on light tackle long casting spinning outfits with 10 lb. test and a fluorocarbon leader of about 3-4 feet of 25 lb. test !