Right now, finding fish inshore to take home can be challenging. Speckled trout remains closed until the first of the year in our south zone, and gag grouper and snook are closed indefinitely.
Deepwater residential docks have the potential for holding a variety of inshore species including flounder, sheepshead and red drum (redfish). And if you play your cards right, like local author Dave Mallory and his nephew, Jeff Fountain, from Burlington, Vt., you too can have a fresh fish dinner.
Since whitebait (scaled sardine) is scarce, we used the next best thing for bait — shrimp. We began working a row of docks near a shallow grass flat. The tide was running out and we knew as soon as the water dropped off the flat all of its inhabitants would drop off, right where we wanted them.
The first dock yielded nothing we wanted. Mallory suggested if the catching didn't get better he would have to stop on his way home to buy some fish. We moved a couple docks down. Fountain was doing a good job putting high slot-sized reds in the boat, but his uncle would always up him with his catches. After the bite quit, we had our limit of reds and plenty of fillets for blackened redfish.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.