What's hot: March is usually the month spring fishing kicks off on the west coast of Florida. 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 whitebait begins to arrive back on the flats, snook will soon follow.
Trout tactics: With trout providing good numbers of hookups, many anglers are pressuring these head-shaking gamefish with all types of artificials and live shrimp. These fish become seasoned to the normal offerings anglers throw at them. The water off north Pinellas County is so clear on the flats that any type of added terminal tackle will dissuade trout from taking the offering. To catch trout when they start to get finicky, remember that less is often better. Eliminate any swivels or snap locks that attach to lures. That will only give the fish more to look at.
More tactics: A direct line to leader knot attached to a 4-foot length of 15 fluorocarbon leader will disguise the presentation and result in more bites. Eight-pound superbraid will also cast farther and provide a cushion to keep weary fish at a distance. A freelined shrimp will look natural and won't be overlooked by a school of speckled trout when staged up in a good current.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 439-9017.