What's hot: Stable weather all week helped get fishing back on track. Nearshore action has been very good; bait has been thick all along the beach and luring in the entire food chain. Spanish mackerel, jacks and lady fish are driving the bait to the surface and can be found by following the bird activity. Bigger predators such as kingfish and blacktip sharks are also following the schools of smaller fish.
Tactics: Live chumming with pilchards will keep you busy as you handle the mackerel, sending out live ladyfish, or a legal mackerel under a balloon will draw strikes from the kingfish and sharks.
What else: Redfish schools can be found shadowing mullet schools. Work the end of the outgoing tide and the first hour of the incoming. These fish have been schooled up good and respond to live chumming. Once the tide is up enough for reds to get onto the primary flat, they become more skittish. Wading allows you to get close enough to make a cast with a weedless soft-plastic before they spook.
Etc.: More crab traps will begin to be dropped in nearshore waters. Tripletail hang on the down-current side of the marker floats. These fish aren't picky and eat artificial shrimp or fly patterns. Live shrimp or tail-trimmed pilchard under a float is close to a guarantee.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at [email protected]