Although the weather has been a bit mild, things will change on the water over the next couple of days. Sardines have been easy to net with warm temperatures, however, higher winds with this weekend's cold front will drive them away. Live shrimp or artificial lures will be the best for catching fish until temperatures level out. Lately, king fishing in north Pinellas has been fantastic, as well as the Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper bites. But the next few days I will focus on backcountry bays, protected from the wind and cold. Darker bottoms often heat quicker than the open flats, encouraging fish to eat. Fishing later in the day is also productive, giving the sun time to heat the water. Oyster bars will be holding sheepshead, snook and redfish. Slowly worked artificial shrimp bounced along the edges will get attacked by most species. If you locate live bait to net or have live shrimp, cut a small piece, then cast around the mangroves. Sluggish fish will smell for the offering and eat at their leisure. As the day heats up, fish tend to respond better. Cold fronts this time of year tend to push more trout into St. Joseph Sound. Expect trout numbers and trout bite to increase the next few days.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.