What's hot: Several species move toward the cooler waters of our beaches throughout summer. Trout have been schooling around rock jetties in northern Pinellas County, including the very productive mitigation reefs a few hundred yards offshore from Sand Key to Indian Rocks Beach. These artificial reefs feature piled concrete and other materials and attract predator fish. In these deeper waters (15-18 feet) use small, light-colored tails with a quarter- to half-ounce jig head on an inshore-style spinning rod. Let your cast sink to the bottom, slowly hopping it back. Trout of all sizes are striking using this method, as well as flounder, mackerel, cobia, and pompano. Tarpon are also in this general area, north and south, following the tides. Have a larger spinning rod with 50-pound line, a 60-pound leader and a 4/0 to 6/0 hook, using a large sardine or threadfin as bait. Tarpon are known for feeding around rockpiles.
Tip: When using live baits on mitigation reefs, add a heavy split shot or tie your hook a foot above a weight attached to the end of your line. Sardines are more plentiful around the bridges and on the flats inside the passes. Chum with a few frisky baits.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.