What's hot: Cooler water will spark the trout bite. Grass flats from 6 feet to less than a foot will begin to see larger schools of trout. Areas to target are the flats north of the Dunedin causeway and the potholes that line the east side and upper parts of Tampa Bay. The lower parts of Tampa Bay have been slow but should pick up as the water temperature drops.
Tackle: Ultra-light rods and small spinning reels work best on trout. The rods should be 7 to 8 feet for added casting distance. Reels need to have a full spool of 6- to 10-pound mono or braided line. The full spool will allow you to cast farther. Most plugs, jigs, jerk baits and corked live baits work well. Use 10- to 20-pound fluorocarbon leaders — the lighter leaders when the water is very clear.
Tips: At sunup, use topwater plugs. As the sun rises, switch to a jig or jerk bait. Drift the flats until you locate a school. This is when you might want to switch to live bait. The best action is when the tide has strong movement. Keep your jigs low and slow across the bottom. Most of the trout will be where the grass meets the sand. Pinching down the barbs on your hooks will make releasing undersized trout easy. Check fishing regulations to see when trout are open in your area.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.