What's hot: Speckled trout and redfish will feed better with better tides when this long, rough stretch of winter weather subsides. Inclement conditions and extremely cold water temperature slowed the bite to start the new year. With a rise in water temperature and settling conditions, these fish will respond by eating just about anything placed in front of them.
Tackle and techniques: Gear up for both species with medium-to-heavy spinning gear, a 17- to 20-pound fluorocarbon leader with a 3-inch paddle-tail jig or a 5-inch jerkbait-style tail. With much cooler-than-normal water temperature, even with improving conditions, the game plan for enticing the fish to eat is working the bait slow, particularly when fishing the morning hours before the sun starts to heat up the shallows. Make the longest cast possible, then creep the lure across the bottom at a painstakingly slow pace. Until the water warms up a considerable amount, the fish will not exert much energy chasing lures.
Tip: You may have to move around more to locate the fish at this time. If you do not find them in your favorite locations, try looking for them in the areas just outside creeks and canals. The wide-open grass flats may be fishless "ghost towns" until the water has had some time to warm up. When concentrations of fish are located, they will feed strong, and trout more than 25 inches long are likely to be caught.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at adventurekayak fishing.com or (727) 692-6345.