What's hot: The beaches are covered with baitfish such as threadfin herring and scaled sardines. Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobia, bonito, sharks and jack crevalles are the prominent species on the prowl. Large redfish schools continue to invade shallow-water flats in search of crustaceans. Pinellas Point has several schools in the area. Seatrout, one of the easiest species to catch, are starting to show up everywhere on the grass flats with the cooler water.
Tactics: Slow-trolling threadfin herring off the beaches will entice all of the pelagic species. I start by locating schools of baitfish less than a mile from the beach and deploy baits on a light drag setting using light wire to prevent cutoffs from toothy fish. Stone crab season is also here, so keep an eye out for tripletail hanging out right next to the crab pots.
Tips: Redfish have been tailing on the low tides. I use a small piece of cut bait when targeting tailing reds; it lands softly and is one of the best presentations in shallow water. The east winds have made ideal conditions for drifting the flats for trout. A popping cork with a scaled sardine is one of my favorite presentations. This combination is deadly for trout and will produce lots of fish when drifting over grass flats.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.