The new year brought with it some new conditions: We're finally having some sort of winter. Trout action has been good on slow-sinking plugs or soft-plastic jigs working the deeper waters of the creeks and river mouths. The grass flats are also abundant with some nice slot fish. A popping cork is a great way to instigate a fight from one of these tasty creatures. The idea is to make the cork sound as much like a strike as possible. Then let it sit, then repeat. An artificial shrimp, jig body or jerk worm work excellent under this contraption, as does a live shrimp or pinfish. The loud gurgling sound created by the cork alerts the fish in the area and as they look around to see where the gurgle is coming from, they see your bait falling and take advantage of the opportunity. For those that like to sight-fish, the time is now. The water clarity is excellent, and redfish are littered along the edges of the flats during the low-tide periods. A stealthy approach is a must. When poling in, use the wind to your advantage for a quieter approach. Once in a good area, begin by scanning the area for movement. Over time your eyes begin to know what to look for. Look for shapes moving around. After you have bested a few fish this way, you begin to know by shape the species of fish. Often times we catch rather large trout using this approach as well as the occasional snook.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.