Mild temperatures overnight have made it easier to find sardines, also called whitebait, on the flats in North Pinellas. Chumming is necessary to attract the bait within cast-netting range. Spending the time to collect a fair amount of bait has made a huge difference lately. The flats are starting to come alive, so having a well full of sardines has made for great success. Snook are gathering on several shorelines in anticipation of their move to the beaches. Almost all bays and creek mouths will have snook somewhere adjacent to the main opening. The barrier islands are also starting to hold snook as well as trout, with both making a transition toward the beaches for their summer spawn. These fish are eager to eat a frisky whitebait, either free-lined or under a cork. Look for shorelines that have some depth even at mid tides. Redfishing has been very consistent over the past few weeks. It has been easy to catch a few just by targeting mullet schools. Look for the larger mullet jumping on a flat, then ease into casting range. Free-lined pinfish or an injured sardine with a small split shot near the hook have been getting crushed by the larger redfish. On the higher tides, I am still focusing on small creeks and mangrove shorelines with depth under the roots for the redfish to congregate. Skipping cut baits under the limbs and being patient will pay off as the fish begin to concentrate on the scent of an easy meal.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.