What's hot: With water temperatures dipping, the flats in north Pinellas County have game fish feeding aggressively throughout the day. The sluggish days of summer are over, and redfish and trout are jumping on live pilchards and artificials alike. The cooler mornings have allowed anglers to work soft plastics on grass flats to find trout in the 18- to 22-inch range. This first wave of larger trout can be found mostly by drifting the deeper edges and working potholes in 3- to 4-foot depths. The stronger low tides anglers are experiencing this week have fish holding along the breaks off the shallows.
Redfish have definitely been the craze this week. This past weekend, we had the annual Pediatric Cancer Foundation celebrity tournament, and the redfish division was one to remember. Many anglers caught redfish, though it took 40-plus inches to even come in third place. These offshore redfish will come nearshore and inside the passes to feed during and after their spawn.
This pilgrimage happens only once a year, and it gives anglers the opportunity to chase the giant fish in water as shallow as 3 feet. Inside, among the flats of Caladesi and Honeymoon islands, there are many slot-sized fish covering the oyster bars on higher water. Key in on the shell banks with a lot of mullet activity and good tidal movement. Work gold spoons with bucktail trailers to entice these fish on the hunt.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 439-9017.