What's hot: Warm-weather days seem to have trout in a feeding mood throughout the day. Working the south and east sides of the bay have been productive for more than a week, and the trend should hold, barring a strong cold front.
Tackle: A 7-foot light-action rod is the norm. Since trout tend to be head-shakers when hooked, the light-action rod tip absorbs the shock and helps keep the hook in place. Ten-pound braid or 8-pound monofilament line is more than strong enough to land the biggest trout. Add 2 to 3 feet of 12-pound leader material to protect against cut-offs by ladyfish.
You can do well with artificial baits. Follow this rule: over 4 feet, go deep. Use a jig or quick-sinking lure to get down where the fish are. Shallower water calls for suspended lures or topwater baits.
Tactics: Work shell bottom and grass patches on the deep side of the shoal during lower tides. We've been anchoring and fan-casting. When the bite dies, move on. Use topwater baits on higher tides. Start on the edge of the flat and move up with the tide.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 560-6762.