What's hot: Schools of mullet are everywhere, moving parallel to shore and stirring up the bottom. Thus, redfish and trout are roaming most shallow flats. The incoming tide has been most productive, as the fish are more aggressive when there is water coming in behind them.
Trout: In St. Joseph Sound, the larger, breeder-sized speckled trout use spoil islands along the Intracoastal Waterway to stage up and feed aggressively in the cooler months. Catches of 50 or more are not uncommon around the new and full moons. Trout actually eat better with a little wind, as it will push bait and small shellfish against these rocky shorelines. Combine this with a good incoming tide and it can be magic to anglers throwing artificials. The trout harvest season is closed north of Fred Howard Park.
Redfish: The bite should get better as the higher tides arrive. With cold fronts approaching, the wind always starts out from the south and brings up water levels against oyster bars and mangrove shorelines. The shell banks are redfish highways during higher water and a select-sized shrimp suspended on the edge will not be overlooked. Any tide that completely covers the oyster beds this time of year will bring the larger reds in the 30-inch class to the area.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.