May is the month I leave the backwater canals and docks and turn my attention to the passes and beaches.
Usually this time of year finding bait is easy around bridges at night and intra coastal grass beds during the day. This May has proven to be an extremely windy month making consistently getting bait a problem. This should change shortly as our typical summer weather pattern sets in.
My favorite fish to target inshore is the snook. So far have all the snook we have seen have been extremely over slot size hogs. If this is any indication of the summer we are going to have snook wise, look out. Live pinners, grunts or nice frisky white bait is snook candy.
Finding snook is not hard; every pass, beach or mangrove shore line is snook territory. If you fish for them long enough, it doesnt take long to figure out where they will be hanging out. They love to sit in areas with good tide movement near jetties, pylons, fenders, sand bar points and grass beds near the inside of passes. Snook are ambush fish, lurking behind structure waiting to slam bait moving in and out with the tide. I like to free line or use just enough weight to present the bait as naturally as possible. Another method that works well when fishing tide is to cast up tide, let your bait be carried naturally to down current and then open your bail and strip feed your line to continue that natural flow down current till you get a strike.
The classic “thud” strike of a snook is unmistakable and their drag screaming runs is what makes this the most sought after inshore species. They have an uncanny ability to fine the nearest structure to bust your tackle or use there sandpaper rough mouth to wear through the leader. I start out using 25lb leader in open areas and beef up to 40lb or more near heavy structure areas.
Snook is not the only species available in May, nice size trout have been biting on the grass beds and spoil islands near the passes. Free lining shrimp or whitebait when available has worked well on the drop offs and deeper grass edges.
Reds have also been consistently biting around spoil islands, intracoastal docks and mangrove islands. Cut pinfish has been my best bait, but they rarely will turn down cut ladies or mullet either.
Getting out onto the beach has been tough due to the wind. This action will work up to a frenzy as plenty of tarpon, sharks, mackerel, grunts, flounder and catch and release grouper will be biting hard once things settle and the bait shows up.