Stable conditions have allowed the waters to clear after a few windy days. Sighting fish on the flats has become easier, but getting them to bite in clear water with a blue sky can be difficult. I have reduced my leader size to 20-pound fluorocarbon and #1 hooks. Iím also bringing live shrimp on my trips as well as catching plenty of greenbacks. The medium-height tides force redfish to lay just outside the mangroves, patrolling the outside of oyster bars and warming in the morning sun. Sometimes an easy bait such as live shrimp will get hit first by fish unwilling to chase baits in the cooler morning water. As the day gets warm, the fish become more active and I will switch to pinfish or live sardines. A good way to find fish is fan casting into potholes and areas with a shelly bottom lined with turtle grass. Working mullet schools is also effective on low-tide days. Redfish tend to move along with the mullet, hiding from predators by blending into the school and foraging on small baits the mullet scare up while filtering algae from the bottom. Snook are still cooperating, especially in the backcountry waters warmed by the sun. Creek mouths and bay openings are holding snook, jacks, trout and other fish. Spanish mackerel and kingfish are roaming within 5 miles of shore.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.