What's hot: Deep grass flats adjacent to many spoil islands throughout the northern Pinellas intercoastal waterway attract a variety of predatory feeders this time of year. Trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish, ladyfish and pompano can be caught by properly free-lining a bait with the tide. Wind can dirty exposed areas in a hurry, so try to find cleaner water.
Tips: Changing weather has made cast-netting pilchards tough, though good bait is still around. Live shrimp paid off huge last week, luring large trout in their usual haunts. Pompano will also track down a live shrimp, and if one is hooked there usually are a few more around. Those hard fighters like the same bottom contour as the big trout.
Technique: Low-tide days are becoming more common; add a little cloud cover and redfish conditions are ideal. Scanning the smaller mullet tails and the much darker sheepshead tails, you will easily notice the much larger orange redfish tails. Don't waste time casting at mullet or sheepshead as ideal conditions can come and go in a hurry. The best approach is from uptide and upwind. Let the wind help make long casts with a tail-less free-lined shrimp; the scent naturally makes its way to the fish.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email [email protected]