What's hot: The weather, once a week. If you can pick your days, make the most of them. Cold fronts seem unending, but we are getting breaks. Redfish have been great fly-rod targets on sunny days, cold or not. The big surprise has been snook. John from Indiana, on his first fly trip, took and released four snook. Working a small back bay on a sunny day, we sought reds that had been there the day before and found nothing but hungry snook. That was two weeks ago. Monday, nothing but redfish. Both days had sunshine and warmth.
Tactics: The fish may be a bit cold, but they realize a threat when they see one. A push pole or trolling motor on slow speed will get you in range to cast. A light breeze pushing you along is to your advantage. If you see a pattern of fish following a line, get on it and anchor. Let them come to you. They are more likely to eat if you're not bearing down on them.
Tip: Use flies or jigs that hop off the bottom and fall quickly. Flies don't need much weight because these fish are in less than a foot of water. Quarter-ounce jigs on a spinning rod make it seem easy when conditions are right. Dark colors such as root beer have been the winner. Try the Cottee Cracker Shad. DOA TerrorEyze is another awesome bait, as well as the MirrOLure MirrODine. All good, but remember to be sneaky.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.