Large aggregations of spotted sea trout formed on last weekend's full moon. Such schooling behavior is related to their spawning cycle, typical in mid to late March through the first weeks of April, and can be conducive to great fishing. The weekend's quarter moon broke up these schools and scattered the fish, but expect them to regroup as the moon wanes toward Saturday's new moon.
Habitat that's happening: Along the northern Suncoast, forgo the grass beds and focus on hard bottoms. The redfish are overtaking the trout hot spots of last week. They are concentrated over hard bottoms (limestone outcroppings) that hold the heat even during cool, morning hours. Fishing this habitat produced double-digit catches of large reds all weekend. Focus on such areas at river mouths or adjacent to deeper water as the new moon approaches.
Pro logic: Fish that are on the flats like it quiet. Inshore fish are easily spooked by sounds and shadows. Once spooked, they might not return to the area even after the boat engine is silenced. One cannot emphasize enough to use a stealth approach in these shallow waters. Drift into potential fishing spots using the wind and currents as a guide or by push pole or trolling motor. Once close, anchor and cast to the fish. Be courteous to others who might have already arrived.
Robert McCue can be reached at GiantTarpon.com or 800-833-0489.