The winds were at 25 mph on a recent outing, and the fishing was tough. The sky was overcast, and fish were hard to see. We started using topwater plugs worked over the mullet schools. When a redfish struck or followed the plug, we switched to live or dead bait. Most reds were caught on dead bait and were in the 18- to 25-inch range. Using the topwater plug let us know where the redfish were. This gave us a chance to use dead bait. When you use dead bait and don't know fish are in that area, pinfish will eat your bait before the reds can find it. With the tide falling, we moved to deeper grass flats to fish for trout. Using a float and jig combination, the trout were striking well. Most strikes came on strawberry- and motor-oil-colored jigs. The trout ran from 12 to 20 inches. The harder we popped the cork, the better the action. The best areas were in 3 to 4 feet of water that had a mixture of grass and sand. The trout like to lie on the bottom next to the grass, where they can see small baits, shrimp and crabs moving over the sand. The grass helps camouflage trout from predators. Cast the jig where the grass meets the sand. If you fish the middle of the sand, you'll probably catch ladyfish, not trout.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.