What's hot: Speckled trout, red drum, sheepshead and flounder weren't affected by the recent cold snap and will bite if presentation, bait selection and timing are implemented in each angler's approach.
Presentation: It's not difficult to present an offering when the water temperature is hovering in the 50-degree range. Remember that all of these species won't chase fast-moving bait. Artificial baits should be slowed to creep along the bottom. Natural bait should sit on the bottom or suspend under a float.
Bait: Shrimp, dead or alive, is the most productive natural bait for these four fish. Fish are grubbers, especially in cold weather. They won't hesitate to eat a fresh dead offering that doesn't move. Plastic shad tail jigs in root-beer, electric chicken and watermelon colors are producers, especially if scented. Berkley Gulp and Bass Assassin Blurp are tails that give off plenty of scent. Attach the tail to a 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jig head.
When to go: Midday, when the water has warmed a degree or two, is a better choice than other times. A touch of warmth will spark feeding activity. Target times when the warm afternoon sun coincides with a negative low tide. Low, low tides will help concentrate the fish in deep pools or pockets, making them easy pickings.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.