Cooler waters have stimulated the bite in north Pinellas. The nearshore species like mangrove snapper, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, cobia, barracuda and sharks have all been cooperating. The artificial reefs have held all of these fish, especially Spanish mackerel. Anchor up near a good rockpile and chum with a few sardines. Large sardines or threadfin herring will get eaten by Spanish mackerel and larger kingfish. Longshank hooks are a must. Wire can be used if the kings are breaking off, but in clearer waters the bites can be less frequent. Sometimes, chumming with cut bait will bring mangrove snapper up from the bottom. I like to downsize leader to 15 to 25 pounds, as well as a smaller circle hook. Add a split shot and drop a piece of cut bait back, letting the tide drift your bait into the zone you are chumming. Small grouper often attack, pulling you quickly into the rocks. Light spinning tackle is usually no match for the grouper, so if they become too much, switch to more conventional rods. Inshore fishing has been good. The strong low tides have pushed many fish out to the edges of the flats. Trout, redfish, and snook have been sharing the same holes and cuts leading back to the flats. The beginning of the incoming tide has been best.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.