What's hot: The deep grass flats in Tampa Bay are holding good numbers of fish. Large trout, silver trout, bluefish, sharks and mackerel can be found over grass 4-6 feet deep. The best action is where you see spawn raining on the surface. Anchor upcurrent of the spawn and deploy a block of frozen chum. You also can chum the area with small, live whitebait. The live baits will get the fish striking on the surface. Cast your bait where you see the strikes. Rig your rods with a long shank hook. This will keep most of the mackerel from cutting the line. If you catch a mackerel, use a piece of cut mackerel for shark bait. Your shark rod needs a short piece of wire leader and strong hook. Some sharks can reach 5 feet. Make sure to have a full spool of line on the rod.
Tips: You also can find good areas to fish by drifting the flats. Fan cast the area with a jig heavy enough to reach the bottom. Slowly lift the jig off the bottom, and let it fall back to the grass. Most strikes will occur when the jig falls. A short piece of 40-pound mono in front of the jig will keep the mackerel from cutting the line. If you want more strikes, use lighter leader. You will need extra jigs to replace the ones that get cut off.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.