What's hot: The first day of spring, which is today, typically means fewer strong cold fronts. Water temperatures are still in the mid 60s, but springlike patterns are emerging. Bait has returned to some inshore flats, though persistence and patience may be needed when trying to find these scaled sardines. Look for flips on the surface or flashes deeper in the water column. Once the bait is found, anchor and start chumming to bring it close to the boat. Redfish have shown up on typical springtime flats. Big breeder trout are schooled up in areas of patchy sand and grass bottom.
Tactics: The trout bite was consistently good all winter, and with bait's arrival, you can't miss. Anchor within casting distance of the school and toss out handfuls of live "chummers" to entice the bite. Next, cast free-lined baits and baits rigged with a float to the school. Redfish schools can be found around oyster bars, docks and cruising the same shallow flats as the big trout. The water is clear, so be quiet when working these fish or they will shut down once your presence is detected. Big snook have been caught around river mouths and residential canals. They are hungry from a long winter. Live chumming with scaled sardines will have snook, redfish and trout feeding together.
Seth Leto runs Pristine Fishing Charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 385-0382.