What's hot: Shrimp, live or cut, is the top bait during the winter as trout, redfish and sheepshead feed well on it. During warmer times of the year, shrimp fall victim to pinfish before game fish can locate the bait.
Trout: Free-line the shrimp on a bottom that has a mixture of grass and sand. During the warmest part of the day, rig the shrimp under a small popping cork and pop it to draw trout in.
Redfish: They like docks in residential canals. Cast the shrimp under a dock using a split shot to keep the bait from swimming around the pilings.
Sheepshead: They like places with barnacles or oysters. The best way to get them feeding is to toss in small pieces of cut shrimp. The smell lures them from the pilings. Put on a larger piece of cut shrimp, cast to where you tossed the cut pieces and wait for your line to move.
Pro tip: Use a chum bomb to start a feeding frenzy. Place a handful of cut shrimp in a paper bag the size of a 12-ounce can. Drop a large egg sinker rigged to a heavy rod into the bag and tape it shut. Lower the bag and wait for the paper to soften. Give a few tugs on the rod to break open the bag and dump the shrimp.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.