What's hot: The influx of "overslot" trout has occurred, with trout longer than 20 inches being caught every outing. Fiery in cooler water because of the recent cold snap, these fish fight with more vigor than at other times of the year.
Tackle: Use ultralight to medium rods with small to medium reels, a light main line and a fluorocarbon leader no heavier than 20 pounds. Use a 1/16- to ⅛-ounce jighead with the tails on the lures 3-5 inches long. Darker-colored lures are outperforming lighter shades. Live bait can be used but isn't going to outperform artificials.
Techniques: Going early morning or late afternoon is usually best, but if there is good tidal movement, the trout might be feeding any time of the day or night. Make long casts across grassy bottom areas and retrieve the lure at a pace where it stays close to the bottom. On lower tides, the large trout congregate in the ruts and troughs on the outer flats, usually staying out of the shallows. On the mid tides, the fish wander the depths from just a foot of water out to 6 or 7 feet deep. On higher tides, the largest trout will be caught mixed in with redfish up against the trees.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at strikethreekayakfishing.com and (727) 692-6345.