Tip: Inconsistent weather will certainly keep you on your toes. Anglers looking to fill their livewell full of whitebait might get it one day and not the next. A backup plan with baits including live shrimp, pinfish and cut ladyfish, plus soft-plastic jigs, will often work best.
What's hot: Gulf fishing near-shore for kingfish and mackerel has been unreliable but trout and reds inshore have been excellent at times. Redfish are in good numbers in and around mullet schools at high and low tidal stages. Low tides are best fished with cut ladyfish or tail-trimmed pinfish; put out a spread of baits to effectively cover a large area. You could also bounce a dark colored soft-plastic jig through the area. At higher tides these tactics will work, or chum the fish with live pilchards.
Trout time: More and more, trout are becoming an everyday staple. As the water cools, look for big fish to continue stage up on the many spoil islands throughout the ICW. A soft-plastic jig bounced along the bottom is the most effective way to cover water and find the pockets of trout. Free-lining or cork fishing live pilchards or shrimp also works.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email firstname.lastname@example.org.