Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communing in the same areas and many trout are running the same size as the snook. Snook have been averaging in the 24- to 30-inch range and the trout mixed in have been from 22 to 27 inches. Offer up a few freebies on each side and the front of the boat gets the action started. Sometimes you have to reposition yourself to get into the strike zone. Once the bite goes off, a few chummers at a time keeps the action steady. When the bite slows, try a short move into new water. Trout have been ranging from 15 to 24 inches on the flats. On recent low tides anglers got out and walked over to depressions and holes in the flats — the fish pile up in the holes and are fairly easy pickings on artificial baits. Jerk worms in black and gold worked quickly scored snook, while the steady retrieve of a chartreuse shad tail has been super effective on snook and trout. The bay area gains new anglers every day. The fish are going to get a lot of pressure, so harvest responsibly.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or [email protected]