Gator trout fishing: The cooler water temperatures have schooled up the large seatrout. The flats from Clearwater to Hudson have been invaded by these large, oftentimes called "gator," trout looking for an easy meal. These trout are trying to fatten up before the winter.
Where to look: These fish can caught in depths anywhere from less than a foot to 6 feet of water. Look for shallow flats with grass, pot holes and moving current. The flats around Anclote Key, Cotee River and Sand Bay have been productive. There have been some trout showing up around the spoil inlands from Dunedin to Three Rooker Bar. Remember trout season is closed south of the Fred Howard Park Causeway on the gulf side of the state. When releasing trout, be careful when touching the fish. Use wet hands or a wet towel to prevent removal of the protective slim on the fish's body.
The best baits: The best baits have been live whitebait and pinfish. There has been plenty of action on artificial baits such as jigs, topwater plugs and soft-plastic jerkbaits.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.