What's hot: With temperatures rising, head to the shallows in St. Joseph Sound. As bait emerges inside passes and the water clarity is at a premium, trout and redfish work the flats on flooding tides.
Tactics: Some of the season's biggest trout will be caught over the next few weeks. The full moon has females staging up along the spoil islands and oyster bars along the main shore. Work the swift current along points and dropoffs. Redfish are holding among the mullet and can be sight-casted as darker muds give away their location. Select-sized shrimp work when "bobby-rigged" under a cork. This keeps them in the strike zone longer. On quarter-moon tides when the water level is not at a premium, fish the potholes leading into the flats. Gold spoons are great for redfish. They cover a lot of ground and different depths of the water column.
What else: With whitebait, anglers can catch snook exiting the backcountry. Deeper holes leading into bayous and rivers are the best places. The outgoing tide will have warmer water and stimulate the bite.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at [email protected]