Gradually cooling water temperatures have schools of silver trout and spotted sea trout beginning to bunch up in typical holding locations where they can be targeted all winter. Hard-shell bottom rolloffs found along spoil islands and near-shore structure, e.g. jetties and small reefs, found along the beaches are all good places to find schools of adult sea trout. Hand-picked or select-sized shrimp free-lined with an upcurrent cast is the perfect presentation to fool the larger trout. In rough conditions, a small split shot should be used to assist the bait in getting to the proper depth during its drift. Soft plastic jigs in a variety of natural colors, including motor oil, clear red flake or natural shrimp, will also work well and at times are a better option than the real thing. Schools of silver trout can be found along the beach in as close as the sea buoys and out as far as a couple hundred yards. Marking on them on your bottom machine is easy as they travel in big schools. Tandem jigs in pink, white or chartreuse work great. Once the fish are located, it's easy to catch a bunch. Keep some of the larger ones, but like speckled trout the silvers don't freeze particularly well. Windy days are becoming more the norm, making sheepshead fishing a good option.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.