What's hot? Live-bait fishing for snook, red drum (redfish) and speckled trout in southern Pinellas County. Trout in the 20-inch range, keeper-sized redfish and catch-and-release snook are taking Spanish sardines (whitebait) without hesitation. Begin your day early at blue-light to get sardines. If you're like me and don't like fighting the current and anglers trying to get bait at the Skyway, make up some chum and head to a shallow grass flat and chum it up. It's a lot easier.
Trout: On the incoming tide, go to the grass flats near Fort De Soto. The flooding tide brings trout on the flats in search of for prey. Rig whitebait under a float to keep it from going down and hiding in the grass. A float adds weight to aid in casting.
Red drum: When the tide starts to slack off, work deep-water docks for redfish. It's best to find docks adjacent to mangroves, grass flats or other forms of structure. Rig your offering with a small split-shot weight to keep it on the bottom. Attach the weight about a foot above the leader so the bait can swim and send out vibrations the reds can pick up.
Snook: Fish for snook on outgoing tide. Use the biggest whitebait in your well. Target bridges around the bayway, Tierra Verde and Skyway. Free-line minnows, making it so it swims down-current naturally.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.