What's hot: With any major storm passing by our coastline, increased winds and erratic pressure changes will affect the way fish bite. When the pressure begins to drop, gamefish will often feed heavily leading into the storm. As the storm subsides, the pressure rises and these same fish become finicky. To re-establish an inshore bite after a front, work deeper water and fish with stationary baits such as a shrimp or cutbait. With lower tides this week in the morning coming off a new moon, redfish and snook will favor 3- to 5-foot depths. Anglers will need to find deeper potholes that are off the major flats of Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island. These ambush areas are key during the incoming tides, as it brings in fresh Gulf water and baits to the shallows. Deeper troughs will funnel shrimp, sardines and other easy meals toward waiting gamefish. This flow of water can also help anglers to present a bait naturally into the strike zone. Try to freeline the baits so that there is no restrictions in how it is presented.
Tackle tips: For flats fishing in Pinellas County the water is usually very clear because of the rich turtlegrass that helps filter out algae blooms. The biggest mistake an angler can make on pressured fish in clear water is oversizing the tackle. Braided line in the 8- to 10-pound test range tied with 20-pound fluorocarbon leader will allow longer casts and a stealth presentation. This setup will catch 90 percent of the fish in the shallows this time of year.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.