What's hot: Spanish mackerel should push into the bay by the thousands any day now, probably before the next full moon (March 16). Trout and redfish are becoming more available. Trout are still in somewhat deeper water than usual, and reds are on the flats and residential canals, but both typically tolerate the cooler water better than other species of fish.
Tip: Live shrimp will work until the baitfish arrive. Other than an occasional puffer fish or needlefish, shrimp can be especially productive on the flats for redfish. On a recent trip, we fished with shrimp while other boats around us fished with live sardines. Our boat had the only catches out of the pack.
Tackle: Windy days are great to finish preparations for spring. Respool reels, fix the boat, or simply organize the tackle box. All of the above will ease aggravation when fishing heats up in the next few weeks.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.