During low tides we target trout in 3-4 feet of water. When the tide is high enough to move on to the flats, we cast jigs into the mullet schools in search of large trout. The larger trout like to hang in the mullet schools for protection. Trout know it's safer to hang with 3,000 mullet than be alone on the flats. Most of the trout are in the 20- to 26-inch range. That makes it worth casting 200-300 times to catch four or five gator trout. When the tide gets higher, we look for signs of redfish. The schools have been small and hard to see. It takes a slow approach with your trolling motor on low. When reds are located, cast cut threadfins or ladyfish on the edge of the school. It's still early for reds to be in large schools. If you find them close to the mangroves, a free-lined shrimp is the best bait. Now that water temperatures are in the high 60s, you'll see more manatees on the flats. Signs to look for are a pattern of boils in a strait line or a long mud slick. When you see these, slow your boat and try to avoid driving over that area.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.