We’re finally approaching stable weather. Hopefully rising water temperatures will entice the fish. Our most cooperative species — trout, sheepshead, flounder, redfish — have been the usual targets the past few weeks, but it has been spotty. My most successful days have been using live shrimp free-lined on the sand and rock bottom around the islands in St. Joseph Sound; and pitching under docks and along the main shoreline for redfish. Catches have been small for redfish, but occasionally we get a nice sheepshead nibbling on a cut piece of shrimp. I usually cut shrimp in two pieces and thread them onto a small No. 2 hook to allow sheepshead to eat the whole piece and slowly pull away, putting pressure on the line and getting hooked. They’re tricky, but with practice you’ll know when to start reeling. Trout have been keepers, with only a few more than 20 inches. Falling tides have been more successful, especially after the sun heats the incoming water on the flats. Water temperature will rise 2-3 degrees in the afternoon as the warmed falling tide moves across the flats toward the passes. Translucent, silver and chartreuse jigs have worked for trout, too. Presentations must be slower than usual, bouncing off the bottom occasionally.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.