What's hot: Night fishing in the dock lights is producing good numbers of trout and redfish. The trout can be seen on the surface, and the redfish will be close to the bottom. The most productive lights have a grass flat nearby. The best tides to fish are the ones where the water flows over the grass before reaching the light. The shrimp and crabs that hide in the grass will drift through the lights if the tide is strong. The fish that hang in the light will be facing into the current waiting for shrimp and crabs to flow by. In lower Tampa Bay, the snook are few. To target them, fish the lights that are closest to the mouth of a river. During the freeze, snook that live near the river had a safe area where the water was warm enough to keep them alive. Snook near the passes had too far to travel to find warm water, and most did not survive.
Bait: The best is a live tail-hooked shrimp. When casting upcurrent of the light on a free-lined rig, the shrimp will look natural as it drifts by. You can put a small split-shot close to the shrimp. This will put the bait near the bottom and give you a good shot at the redfish.
Tackle: Light spinning gear or fly rod will draw the most strikes. Rig the spinner with a live shrimp and try a crystal shrimp fly on the fly rod.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.