What's hot: This is the best time of year to break out artificial lures. Cooler water will push most of the baitfish off the flats. Gamefish will be more aggressive because there will be less to feed on. The surface will have less grass to foul the lure. You'll be able to use lures that have treble hooks without fouling the plug. Lures will also cover large areas faster than live bait. At dawn, use a topwater plug along the dropoffs and near the mullet schools. A wiggle of the rod tip during a slow retrieve will make the plug look like a wounded bait. As the sun rises, switch to a small spoon or jig. The spoon can be worked through mullet schools and over oyster bars. Silver and gold spoons work equally well when targeting redfish. A jig will allow you to fish flats, dropoffs, deep water and structure. Work a jig over grass and sand. Fishing the 2- to 4-foot zone will produce trout, mackerel, ladyfish, small sharks and bluefish.
Tips: The best action will be when the tide is moving. At low tide work the dropoff at the edge of flats. At high, fish docks, mangroves and oyster bars.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.