What's hot: Trout fishing in lower Tampa Bay is good. Most are in the 3- to 4-foot zone, with the larger trout in the shallows during the incoming tide. We target mullet schools and potholes when the water is a foot deep. We've caught 20- to 25-inch trout casting jigs through the schools and along the bottom of the potholes. The best color is a strawberry 3-inch jig with a pointed tail. Slowly lift of the rod tip, then let the jig drop to the bottom and repeat.
Bait: Live shrimp works great this time of year. Most of the pinfish that eat the shrimp are off the flats and out in the gulf. There are still schools of whitebait and scaled sardines in the deeper parts near the bridges. Mark them on the bottom machine and cast the net upcurrent of the mark. Let the net sink to the bottom before pulling it in. Most of the schools will be in 15 to 20 feet of water.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.