What's hot: Flounder have been a hot bite this fall. A few years ago they seemed to be on the decline, but they have made an encouraging comeback. Found in potholes, along the edges of flats and passes, around dock pilings and the sandy areas surrounding rock piles, they offer a fairly weatherproof target. Flounder will take both live and artificial baits, but you'll need to fish on or near the bottom.
Bait choices: Whitebait and small pinfish are good choices. Use just enough weight to keep your bait down. Jigs are an obvious choice for working the bottom. Cotee's quarter-ounce Cracker shad and DOA's TerrorEyz are longtime local favorites. Try thoroughly fan-casting a pothole or structure before moving on. Small hops just off the bottom or slowly dragging your bait along the sand should entice a bite. Clouser-type flies with large enough lead eyes to keep them deep will work also. Clear sink-tip/floating fly lines are a plus for this.
Tips: Areas with a good flow of water seem to be flounder hot spots, but if the tide is running too hard you may not be able to keep your bait in position. Work water away from the narrows during the height of the tidal flow and move back as the tide slows. Bring a landing net in case you hook a big one.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.