What's hot: Trout fishing in lower Tampa Bay has picked up. The deeper flats between Pinellas Point and Fort De Soto are holding good numbers, mostly over grass piles in 3 to 6 feet. The best action has been close to the schools that can be seen raining on the surface. The trout are running in the 12- to 20-inch range. It's best to squeeze the barbs of the lure flat so you can release undersized trout without harming them.
Tackle: Ultralight spinning gear in the 6- to 10-pound class will draw more strikes. Leaders should be no more then 20-pound test. Float and jig combinations have been the most productive. Small jigs under a half-inch cork or an artificial shrimp under a 1-inch cork will draw plenty of strikes. Strawberry red and motor oil green are the best jig colors. Artificial shrimp have been working in white and light green.
Tips: When using the float and jig combo, pop the cork hard to create noise and draw the trout. The cork and shrimp rig should be used a lot slower. Drag the cork across the surface and spot. Let the shrimp pull the cork backward until the cork stops moving, then wait a few seconds before repeating. Fish this rig like you would a live shrimp under a cork. Give the trout time to strike the fake shrimp.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.