What's hot: We have been working the drop-off on the edge of the flats. The best time is during a strong incoming tide. Look for areas with a mixture of grass and sand. Most of the fish are lying in the sand next to the grass. Trout, ladyfish and flounder have been striking jigs worked close to the bottom. A slow retrieve will draw the most strikes. Water clarity is important. When the water is clear and you can see the grass coming out of the sand, the fish won't feel safe and will move to deeper water. Look for areas where the grass looks like a dark spot. Most of these spots will be in 3-4 feet.
Tackle: Use light tackle, from 6-10 pounds. A braided line will help you feel the strikes. Use 2-3 feet of fluorocarbon leader in front of the jig. The best colors are root beer, motor oil and strawberry. A 7- to 8-foot rod will allow you to cast farther. Close the bale by hand before the jig hits the water. This will help keep the line on the reel tight. If it gets loose, it will cause wind knots that have to be cut out and tied again.
Tips: Super glue the tails to the jig head. This will keep the tail from being ripped off the jig head. Squeeze the barb down with pliers. This will make releasing undersized fish easier on you and the fish.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.