What's hot: Large speckled trout are being caught all around the bay area. Above 23 inches, these larger specimens fight more like redfish than smaller trout.
Tackle and techniques: Light tackle and lures are the best bet. For lures, use 3-inch paddletail plastic tails on jigheads of one-eighth ounce, 5-inch jerkbait-style plastics on the same jighead or a weedless jighead. Topwater action is excellent in 2 feet and shallower. Make long casts to sandy patches of bottom and work the lure slowly just above the bottom. On higher tides, move closer to shorelines and target areas that have a mix of grass and sand or a craggy, oyster-laden structure. Don't be surprised to catch redfish and long, fat trout in the same locations. On lower tides, fish the ruts and troughs toward the outside of the grass flats. Try to work lures on the edges of these troughs rather than the middle as the fish lay on the edges, ready to ambush their prey.
Food for thought: Slot-sized trout (15-20 inches) are better food fare. The largest make for a great photo but are excellent stock for future generations. Although it is legal to harvest one longer than 20 inches, many anglers release the very largest ones.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at strikethreekayakfishing.com and (727) 692-6345.