What's hot: With spring here, many in inshore tournaments will aim for an inshore slam of a trout, a redfish and a snook. Anglers will work different patterns to catch all three species in the same day. The speckled trout bite has been great while the tide floods around the spoil islands off the Intracoastal Waterway. Work deeper edges with sardines or imitation crankbaits. Be sure the bait placement stays near the bottom, where these predators feed. As the tides rise, redfish will work into the shallows and feed among mullet schools found among the flats of St. Joseph Sound. Pinfish, shrimp and cutbait are top offerings for reds. The schools of redfish are averaging 22-30 inches and give away their location by muds mixed in with the mullet. On higher water, work mangrove roots to dig out bigger bruisers that use the structure as ambush zones.
Tips: The most difficult fish of the slam will be snook. Most of these linesiders are making the transition from the backcountry toward the beaches. If the water warms a little and the mercury keeps climbing toward the upper 70s, the snook bite should get good in the deeper holes leading out of bayous and rivers. "Whitebait" or sardines are the most valuable tool to catch springtime snook.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.