This week looks like the start of spring. The water temperature has risen 7 degrees in a couple of days, and the fish have become active. Bait has been at the bridge all winter long. With hardly any cold fronts on the horizon, look for everything to heat up. It seems everything is on schedule. I'm starting to see more snook on the flats. They aren't eating very well, but if the water keeps warming up, it will only be a matter of time. If you're looking to catch them, concentrate on canals and mangrove tree lines. They seem to be keying in on live bait. Schools of redfish usually don't show up in big numbers until April, but they're being spotted everywhere from Fort De Soto to upper Tampa Bay. Like with snook, keep your distance when fishing the schools. Get just close enough to cast in front of the school. If you're able to get live bait, they've been pretty cooperative. Throw some chummers out and they usually stick around, though the birds this time of year will drive you crazy. Another go-to are trout. They seem to be eating shrimp better than scaled sardines. They seem to be schooled up in about 6 feet of water. If you continue to catch under-slot fish in the area, then just set up a drift. This will help you locate the bigger ones.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.