What's hot: The recent cold front has pushed gulf water temperatures down near 60 degrees. Amberjack on the offshore wrecks and some of the higher-profile rock piles on the natural gas pipeline become willing to strike almost any bait whether it is a large live pinfish, plugs trolled at varying depths in figure eight patterns or large jigs. Grouper become more lethargic. Frozen Spanish sardines, squid and cut grunts are usually more effective than live bait. The bottom fish are in the same spots they were a few weeks ago. Using small hooks and pieces of squid will cause activity from white grunts and triggerfish.
Silver trout seem to like the cold and have returned to their winter time areas in large numbers. One of these is the hard-bottom area a short distance west of the Redington Long Pier. On almost any calm day boats are drifting and jigging with a tandem rig tipped with a small piece of squid. The schools of silver trout can be seen as a lump on the bottom of a fish finder. These fish move around and one trick to stay with the school is to attach a biodegradable balloon to a length of line, attach that to a fish that you have caught then release the fish, which will return to the school. The balloon will give you a visual reference.
Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.