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Too early to grade start of red snapper season

BY NICK STUBBS
Suncoast News correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: June 3, 2014 at 11:37 AM

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One Stop Bait and Tackle, (727) 842-5610: Joe says it will probably be a few more days before anyone gets an idea how well the red snapper season is going. The season opened June 1, and while several anglers headed to the depths offshore for them, there have been no reliable reports on the bite just yet. Redfish action has been good between Hudson and Anclote, with anglers fishing the flooded mangroves doing well. Trout have made their move to the deep grass flats, but those who fish the shallow grass are having some luck first thing in the morning. Once the sun is up a bit, though, the bite dies. Anglers fishing Werner-Boyce Park, off Port Richey, have been reporting some good action on reds and snook. The shallow grass flats everywhere have been giving up sharks. Most are small, though anglers fishing large chunks of mullet on the bottom are connecting with bigger fish.

Anclote Bait and Tackle, (727) 945-1808: Capt. Griff says not much changed over the past week. Anglers are reporting that trout are harder to find, and the ones being caught are small. It may be time to work out to the deeper grass beds in search of better trout action. Inshore baitfish schools remain elusive. The season so far has seen far fewer baitfish than normal. The northern end of Anclote Key has been producing some nice redfish in the mangroves. The flats off Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs have been good for small sharks, and at least a couple of tarpon have been jumped off the beach there. Snook are on the beach at Anclote Key, with one angler reporting taking six fish on live pigfish. All were released unharmed. Offshore, a boat fishing between 3 and 6 miles off Anclote Key got into acres of threadfin herring, which were under attack by schoolie kings. They landed kings for six hours by following the bait.

Tarpon Fishing Outfitters, (727) 942-8944: Don says the southern end of Anclote Key has been holding some nice trout. While baitfish have been hard to find some days, anglers using small pinfish have been doing well with the bigger trout. The south end of the key has been holding snook, as well. The fish are in the surf now for the annual summer spawn. The grass flats off Howard Park have been good for sharks and trout.

Pier 60, (727) 462-6466: Larry says the trout bite has been good after dark. The days are producing a mix of mackerel, pompano, flounder and sea bass. There have been loads of snook around the pier on Clearwater Beach, and many anglers have been catching and releasing them. An 80-pound tarpon was landed.

The Long Pier, (727) 391-9398: Gary says anglers have been scoring a few kings off the end of the pier at Redington Shores, along with tarpon. Live bait on pier outriggers is getting it done. Trout fishing has been good, with the better action under the lights at night. A few pompano are being caught, along with some snook and blacktip sharks. The flounder bite seems to have stalled over the past week. There is plenty of bait around the pier.

Nick Stubbs is founder and webmaster of Bitetracker.com, an interactive fishing website.

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