Days after heavy rains have been better for targeting redfish and trout. Water temperatures can drop 4-5 degrees in the shallows overnight depending on the amount of rain the previous night. Cooling water temperatures help with reds and trout, but the hotter action is in nearshore waters. Jetties and nearshore artificial reefs are holding a variety of species. Fishing around the structure on the bottom can bring a mixed bag of flounder, trout and the occasional redfish. Free-lining baits off the back of the boat will keep you busy with mackerel, ladyfish and possibly cobia. Inshore fishing has been good for bay tarpon and bull sharks, targeting 10- to 15-foot deep dredge areas along Tampa Bay bridges. Light winds are perfect conditions when looking for rolling tarpon. Ease your way to the fish with the trolling motor on low, then either cast artificial lures such as slow-sinking plugs or broadcast a spread of fresh dead bait such as mullet and shad. The latter will also attract the occasional 4- to 6-foot bull shark, so using a trace of wire helps. Bait continues to improve in the area. Pilchards too small to use a couple of weeks ago are now big enough to be free-lined with plenty of larger baits mixed in. Chumming along grass flats in the lower section of Tampa Bay has been consistent right at sunrise.
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.