What's hot: March is traditionally when spring fishing kicks off on the west coast of Florida. The speckled trout are at their peak in size, and often, the biggest of the year are caught just off the spoils along the intracoastal waterway. Schools of oversized redfish are forming and number in the hundreds on good moon phases with peak high water. As the whitebait returns to the flats, the snook will soon follow. Most have started to stage up in transition areas to caution against late cold fronts.
Tips: The shallow flats from Clearwater Bay to Green Key in Pasco County are starting to get good numbers of big redfish. While the larger, oversized fish will show up only on new and full moon tides, many top-of-the-slot fish are schooling close to oyster bars and creeks on high water. The key to getting close to them is using a shallow drafting boat with the push pole or trolling motor working at low speed. The idea is to not make a lot of commotion as you enter the flat. The biggest mistake anglers make when approaching a spot is coming in too fast.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.