What's hot: As the water warms this month, schools of redfish and the season's largest trout will move into the shallows and feed among the mullet. Incoming tide has these gamefish chasing bait in the skinniest water. Redfish will often push around wakes when attacking small silver-dollar pinfish. Late February will find redfish schools hunting along oyster bars on higher tides. With high pressure and minimal clouds after a front, anglers will have more luck with cutbait along the bars. On windy pre-front days, throwing gold spoons among mullet schools has been very productive. Work all levels of the water column.
Tactics: Big gator trout have started to hold on grassflats with less boating pressure. Though these predators can be spooked easier in shallow water, long casts with darker colored jerkbaits has rewarded anglers with quality fish. Drift fishing will cover more water and allows better sightcasting. Work sandy potholes, as these key ambush zones will attract good numbers of trout. Once a fish is hooked, be sure to anchor for a short time as there may be more nearby.
Tackle tips: With the extra-clear waters off St. Joseph Sound, 15-pound fluorocarbon leader has worked best to help disguise the presentation. Long casts and patience will catch the larger redfish.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.