What's hot: With the high winds over the past week, fishing along the mainshore of St. Joseph Sound is the best option in cleaner waters. The shallow flats on the eastern shore tend to clear up much faster as the fertile turtle grass filters out debris and stabilizes the environment. A drop in water temperature should bring in big trout. On recent charters, clients have caught many specks longer than 20 inches fishing the drop-offs and potholes along the edges of flats.
Tactics: Soft plastics in darker green hues are working great while rigged with a weedless jighead of one-eighth ounce. As a live bait option, a select-sized shrimp under a cork has attracted not only trout but larger flounder moving inside many local passes.
What else: Move into the shallows with an incoming tide. When trout, redfish and snook push onto a flat, they are aggressive because there is more water coming in behind them. Baitfish, crabs and other food have fewer places to hide. Proper tackle allows presentations that look natural. Whether using artificials, live bait or cut bait, stealth helps when working a flat. A good trolling motor or push pole helps set up the attack. Remember to start far away from the target. It is better to make a couple of casts short than get too close and blow the fish off an oyster bar or trough.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.