The best way to locate fish for a future trip is to go scouting. Snook, redfish, sheepshead and trout are continually moving. Looking for fish without fishing is time well spent. Normally this is a two-person trip, one to drive the boat and the other to scout the water. Driving solo increases your chance of hitting a pole or dock while you're trying to spot fish. Snook and reds can be found in potholes outside rivers and creeks, and sunning in the shallows of residential canals. Hold a rope attached to the front cleat and have the boat driver idle past potholes as you look for dark shadows on the edges of the holes. When you find spots holding fish, mark that area on a map or bottom machine. This will make it easy to return to the right areas. Sheepshead can be found around the pilings of bridges and docks. Target these spots during the end of a tide and through the start of the next tide. Drift or idle as close to the pilings as possible while looking for the sheepshead. Due to the recent drop in water temperatures, target areas south of the Gandy Bridge. Large schools should be moving toward the beach to spawn. When scouting, avoid areas where others are fishing so you don't spook the fish.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.