A couple of late-season cold fronts have slowed the inshore fishing a bit. Strong winds out of the north and east often aren't favorable for targeting redfish, but the water temperature has remained in the low 70s, which keeps the snook out on the flats and active. Creek systems and the adjacent shallow flats are potential snook hot spots throughout Tampa Bay. Target these areas on the lower part of the incoming tide and again halfway through the outgoing tide. Live chumming with pilchards will produce the best results, but these fish will aggressively track down top-water and shallow running plugs as well as various soft plastics. Most fish are smaller males ranging from 20-26 inches, but we have hooked at least a couple of slot-sized fish each trip. Pilchards are schooling along the edge of most grass flats in the southern part of Tampa Bay as well as the Skyway fishing piers. It has been relatively easy to chum them up with tropical fish food at daybreak. Redfish have been hanging with the snook but have been picky at times, unwilling to chase down live baits. Have at least one rod out with a chunk of ladyfish, which the reds often can't resist.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.