It’s super snapper time on Tampa Bay. On Wednesday, I needed to do some scouting for upcoming inshore trips, so I call good friend Tony Cimino, who works with me on offshore trips, to go scouting. Bait was a snap, but it was tiny. But the largest snook ever caught on my boat came on a greenback about 1½ inches long, and as captain Scott Moore says, elephants eat peanuts. So don’t get discouraged with the small bait this time of year. After Tony and I got some bait, we were off on the great fish hunt. We found several snook that were well over the legal size and several in the mid 40-inch range. We just studied what they were doing. Then we found a few good schools of slot-size redfish and well over. By this time, I can tell Tony’s getting antsy to wet a line and I am, as well. I decided to hit a spot I hadn’t fished in years.
With our Minn Kota I-Pilot trolling motor we were hovering over our spot in 40 feet of water. I threw out a pile of chum, and almost instantly the mangrove snapper were swarming like a school of piranha. We had our limit in less than ten minutes. If you like mangrove snapper, there are plenty to be had on most rock piles, artificial reefs and wrecks inside the bay. Most the fish we caught were in the pound to 2½-pound range, with a couple of larger fish. Not the 10-pounders we get in the Gulf, but just as tasty. Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the “Reel Animals Fishing Show” on Saturdays from 6:30-7 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-9 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit www.reelanimalsfishingshow.com.