This week has typical swings in weather. The warming can confuse fish that have found protection from high winds and cold nights. Suddenly they are quickly warmed, often moving out of their winter haunts, away from regions anglers have expected them to be, and toward open flats or creek and river mouths. The water temperature in north Pinellas has crept from the high 50s into the low to mid 60s. Larger trout have responded by transitioning from sun-warmed shallow flats to deeper edges offering cover from predators. Redfish are spreading out into potholes and oyster bars, foraging on pinfish and live shrimp placed in the open sand holes. Rocky edges along seawalls and docks are holding small undersized redfish, black drum and sheepshead, eager to eat a small shrimp. Crystal clear waters make for great sight-casting in high sun situations. For the next couple of days of cold winds and cooler nights, expect most fish to shut down. Slow your presentation of artificials to a crawl. Live shrimp are a favorite for these conditions so mimic their speed and movement when using soft plastics. Back bays that have deeper holes with a dark bottom attract species looking for a break from the cold.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.