Speckled sea trout has long been a favorite of anglers fishing along Florida's west coast. Sea trout are easier to find, not as difficult to catch and will eat nearly anything thrown at them. Large gator trout, or yellowmouth, are starting to move into shallow water, look for them to be swimming right among mullet in shallow water. I have been able to fill the well full of scaled sardines easily with the unusually warm weather. I watch my bottom machine and look for clouds of bait right off the bottom. I then idle upcurrent and upwind to throw my 12-foot cast net so it will sink into the cloud, hoping to trap the bait. Sometimes I'm done in one throw, other times I have to work hard and throw several times to fill the well. A large cast net can be hard to throw, so I learned to use the three-part method. If throwing a cast net is not your thing, then stop at a bait shop and buy a few dozen select-sized shrimp. Use a popping cork to keep the baits out of the grass. To locate fish quickly, I like to use a jig rigged with a soft plastic tail. You can work a lot of an area to find fish, then switch to live bait to catch the larger gator trout.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.