What's hot: The trout bite continues to be red hot. Fishing the deep edges of the flats with Cotee jigs and DOA TerrorEyz has been awesome during the bottom of the tide. Drift fishing and fan casting the grassy areas have produced the best. Depths of 2 to 4 feet seem to be the ticket during the low water. Cast downwind and let the jig fall to the bottom. Retrieve the slack line and give a sharp yank straight up with your rod tip to "jig" the bait off the bottom and let it fall. Repeat. It's simple and productive.
Tactics: As the tide rises, we've done well on the shallower flats early in the day on topwater plugs. MirrOLure's Top Pup and 5M produce crashing strikes that are as much fun to hear as they are to watch. The technique is similar to jigging. Cast downwind. Retrieve the slack. Give the rod tip a sharp snap. Try to make as much noise as possible with your bait. Wait a few seconds and do it again. Remember, trout have "soft mouths" so don't set the hook too hard or it will pull free. Remember to handle undersized trout as little as possible. A hook remover will let you set them free without touching them. You'll be rewarded with larger trout next time out.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.