What's hot: Today marks the start of trout season in the South Zone, which is the area south of a line extending west from the Fred Howard Park Causeway in gulf waters. The statewide slot limit is 15 to 20 inches. South Zone anglers can keep four trout per day with one of the four being more than 20 inches. It's best to not keep the trout longer than 22 inches. The larger trout are breeder females full of roe. They are the ones that will restock the area.
Where to look: The recent cold front dropped the water temperature enough to push the trout into deeper water. We have been finding good numbers of big trout in 4 feet of water. Normally these large trout will stay closer to the drop-off of the flats. When the water temperature drops fast enough it will push the trout into deeper water that's more comfortable to stay in. Look for areas that have a mixture of grass and sand. Fish the 4-foot depths early in the day. In the late afternoon fish the 3-foot zone.
Tackle, tactics: Use light rods rigged with a small motor-oil or strawberry-colored jig. Keep the jig close to the bottom and slowly retrieve it until you feel the bump of a strike. Even if you think you're working the lure slow, slow it down some more.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.