What's hot: The gulf water temperature has dropped from the 80s last week to the 70s this week. That has caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Because redfish have been on the move, sea trout have saved me on a number of charters in the past week.
Tactics: On bright, sunny days like the ones we've had the past week, it is easy to find deep grass. The darker patches are the grassy areas; the lighter areas are sandy bottom. I stay away from the sandy bottom; it usually does not produce what you want to catch. On cloudy days, I use my bottom machine. A sandy bottom is a flat line. Deep grass has a thick, jagged line. All grass flats have "sand holes." I will work the edges and the middle of the holes. Trout are always lingering on the edges waiting to ambush prey.
Tackle: Light 10-pound braided line with a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader will provide long casts. I like to cast with the wind and cover as much water as possible. A red quarter-ounce jig head rigged with a root beer paddle tail grub is deadly for trout. Eel and minnow-type plastic tails also produce good numbers of fish. Use superglue to attach the tail to the jig head; this gets a few more uses out of the soft plastic baits.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at captainrobgorta.com or (727) 647-7606