What's hot: The best action has been during the lowest tide of the day. Most of the fish leave the flats and hang on the edge until the tide comes in. It's in this drop-off zone that you'll find reds, trout, ladyfish and blues. Work the 3- to 4-foot areas that have a mixture of sand and grass. A motor-oil jig worked close to the bottom will draw the most strikes, likely from trout. In the state's South Region, which the Tampa Bay area falls into, trout are catch and release until Jan. 1.
Offshore: We trolled large soft-body swim baits behind No. 3 planers along the 30-foot drop. Starting west of John's Pass we headed north and went from 29 feet to 34 feet. Grouper in the 20- to 27-inch range slammed our jigs. When we got a hit, we marked the spot and trolled over the area again. Sometimes the spot would produce more than one fish.
Tip: When trolling, keep the speed around 6 mph and keep the lure close to the bottom. Check the lure every 10 minutes for grass or fouls.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.