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Spring is here and the fish have turned on!!! This is my favorite time of year to fish the bay, because the entire area is alive with life. The fish are chewing, the birds are chirping and the weather is mild and warm.

Snook have made their migration out of the backcountry and are on the move toward our local passes and beaches. They are staging up in their usually spring areas before the head to the beaches and are eating with great regularity. I have been using live whitebait, rigged on a 2/0 circle hook and 25lb. leader. Most of the fish have been averaging 20 to 25 inches with the occasional fish over 30. I have been targeting deep mangrove shorelines adjacent to backcountry areas and the fish have been stacking up as they transition to the beaches.

Redfish have schooled up and are feeding aggressively around the major and minor solunar periods. I have been free-lining live whitebait around mullet schools in the Ft. Desoto area and the fish have been averaging 24 to 30 inches. These fish are very spooky and there are normally lots of boats out there trying for the same fish, so be courteous and move around slowly and there should be plenty of fish for everyone.

Trout have also come back strong to our area. I have caught 2 Trout within the past week that have been over 25 inches and 5lbs. The Trout have been mixed in with the mullet schools and have been tearing up live whitebait fished under corks. They key to this type of fishing is the mullet. Move around until you find mullet and then quietly stop the boat and start pitching baits into the school. Fresh cutbait also works well for this type of fishing. A little patience and some great catches can be had.

Spring is a great time of year in the bay area. Take the family out and try some of these tactics and I am sure you will put some fish in the boat.

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Captain Rob Salimbene

Mangrove Man Charters

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