What's hot: With the cold fronts heading south on a more regular basis, the bite in the bay has been excellent to adequate and everything in between. The days leading up to a front and the hours just before the passing of one can be amazing. The redfish and trout action is off the wall with most casts resulting in a hookup or at least a whack by a predator.
An alternative: If the only day you have to fish is the day after a front — the blue skies with no clouds will have the fish on the flats on high alert — here is something you can do to combat the high pressure: think deep and dark rivers, creeks and canals that are abundant around Tampa Bay. The fish in these areas do not see you. They are not spooked by a cast. So your odds improve already. These areas generally have a good current flow, and the fish holding in the areas are accessible even when the water is blown out of the bay by the relentless northerly winds.
Bait: The premier bait is a regular-sized shrimp fished on the bottom. Weigh it down just enough so that it will tumble along the bottom, bumping but not snagging into the shell. A creek chub is a close second. When you get blue skies void of clouds, avoid the flats. Hit the creeks and canals, and stick to some fish that are more willing to play.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.