What's hot: Speckled trout from 14 to 24 inches have been aggressively feeding throughout the Tampa Bay region.
Tactics: Use your light- to medium-action spinning tackle. Choose tidal conditions that have maximum water movement and try areas that have plenty of seagrass with depths of 3 to 7 feet. The grass flats just inside gulf passes are ideal places to prospect. Setting up a drift based on the wind and tidal flow allows for good coverage until a strong concentration of fish is found. Quickly and quietly drop anchor. A soft plastic jig with a one-eighth ounce jighead works well.
Tips: Make long casts and lighten up on your leader material. Trout have excellent vision and lighter leader material increases the number of strikes. If not, let your lure fall to the bottom, then give it slight twitches. This is effective when the trout aren't attacking a faster-moving lure.
For large gator trout, try long casts with a topwater lure in 2 to 3 feet the first couple of hours after sunrise. The explosion when they strike the lure is thrilling.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at (727) 692-6345.