What's hot: Negative low tides, meaning tides that bottom out below mean low water, can be some of the most productive fishing tides. As the tide falls and the water drops off grass flats or out of creeks and bayous, a variety of game fish are forced into adjacent deep-water pools and cuts, trapping them until the tide rises. This event usually occurs twice a month during the new and full moon periods throughout the winter. Red drum (redfish), speckled trout, flounder and sheepshead are just a few of the species you can expect to find in these deep-water hangouts.
Local resident Bill Young and his Pittsburgh buddy, Steve Vitale, experienced this phenomenon recently when they put together a fishing trip around this month's new moon. At sunrise we were anchored at the mouth of a small creek that drained a grass flat into a deep-water channel. With the fish hanging on the edge of the flat, Young and Vitale cast their shrimp to where the creek flows into the channel. Soon, both were hooking up. Vitale boated trout, ladyfish and flounder, and Young boated a couple of reds.
The rig: The rig Young and Vitale used wasn't special, but it was effective. It's what I call a simple bottom rig consisting of a 20-inch, 25-pound fluorocarbon leader and a No. 1 hook with a quarter-ounce split-shot weight pinched on the leader about a foot above the hook. Live shrimp was the bait of choice.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.