Trout fishing steady: With the slow recovery to normal water temperatures, trout fishing is improving daily. Most action comes from the deeper grass flats. Using live shrimp rigged under a popping cork to hold the bait just off the bottom has produced well in 4-6 feet. In warmer periods, drifting the flats with one-eighth-ounce jig heads with grub tails produces good numbers in the 15- to 20-inch range.
Tides: Moving water is always a plus, but with the gulf temperatures still low, the incoming tides have been bringing the coldest water of the day onto the flats. The best action has been with the outgoing tides. Water flowing off the sun-warmed shallows has provided larger fish. Small depressions and sand holes in 2-3 feet of water on the edge of the flats have been home to the largest fish. These fish are normally singles, so staying on the move with a trolling motor or push pole is a must for consistent action. Unweighted jerk shads rigged weedless are the best bait for this type of fishing.
Reminder: Possession of spotted sea trout is prohibited from Fred Howard Park, 1.17 miles south of the Pasco-Pinellas county line, to the Florida-Alabama border for February.
Troy P. Sapp with Fins and Tails Guide Service can be reached at (813) 920-6928.