What's hot: Battling wind and rain has been a daily struggle lately, and tropical storm winds are forecast through Wednesday. The strongest winds from Isaac should be out of the east. So it likely won't take long for the water to clean up.
Before the storm: Late last week, we had some decent fishing weather with east winds and fairly clean conditions along the beach. Pelicans worked the swash channel aggressively. It has been loaded with small and medium pilchards when the weather is right. Loading baitwells with a few hundred of them provides quite a few options. Targeting near-shore structures and jetties, we consistently caught flounder, trout and Spanish mackerel.
What else: A little further offshore, the nearshore bottom bite remains good. Working 3-foot ledges in 25-30 feet has provided good action for gag grouper, grunts and the occasional hogfish. A variety of frozen baits, including sardines, shad, shrimp and squid, is all you need to catch fish in these shallower depths. Scale down your tackle and drop down fresh frozen shrimp on a half-ounce jig head, and you'll stay busy with the grunts, hogfish and short red grouper. Use the sardines and shad on the grouper gear once the gags start breaking you off on the light tackle.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email firstname.lastname@example.org.