What's hot: During recent trips we found most of the game fish moving back to shallow water. Large schools of redfish and trout are moving into the shallows during the incoming tide. Trout are feeding better than the reds. The high tide is not high enough to make the reds feel safe. When the water is 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep, a cast close to the school will spook the reds. Trout will strike jigs and topwater plugs when the water is shallow. To get the reds to feed, we use tail-hooked shrimp on a 20-pound-test, 4-foot leader. When the school is visible, we peel the shell off the head of the shrimp to put scent in the water. This will not work if the school can't be seen. Pinfish will eat the shrimp before the redfish find it.
Pro tip: Follow the tides closely. If the tide chart calls for a high tide, check wind direction. When the wind is out of the north, the tides will be lower than the chart calls for. South winds blow more water into the bay and make the peak tide higher. It will also make the high tide peak sooner than the chart calls for. Downgrade tackle to avoid spooking the fish. Line at 10-pound test with a 20-pound leader will usually work. Drift close to a school and don't cast into it. Work the edges to get the best shot at a hookup.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.