Rough conditions: The roller-coaster weather we experienced recently has presented marginal fishing conditions at best. The good news is that adjustments in techniques and locations can still lead to fish being caught, and throughout the bay area, trout seem to be the most consistent species. As we segue into March, expect air temperatures to rise, bringing water temperatures along with it.
Where: Grass flats are typically the first place to search for trout, but with water temperatures still extremely chilly, the fish are still hunkered down in deep holes or drop-off edges from the shallows. Drag soft plastic jigs slowly across the bottom until we see a considerable warming trend. Once temperatures climb, drifting large expanses of grass in 2- to 4-foot depths will once again become more productive.
Family outing: Warmer days ahead will be perfect for getting the family out of the house and into the boat to drift the flats. While making long casts ahead of the boat with artificial lures is the preferred method, it may be easier for younger children to use a live shrimp under a float. If they aren't proficient casters yet, let them drag the offering behind the boat, letting out line until it's three or four boat lengths away. When the float goes under, hang on and reel.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 510-1009.