What's hot: Cold fronts coming through every three to seven days have dropped water temperatures significantly this week. Schools of trout and redfish around the Fort De Soto area continue to hold impressive numbers of fish; both species seem to be unaffected by the much colder water temperatures. Larger trout have moved into shallow flats swimming along with the mullet schools.
Bait: This time of year it can be tough to locate scaled sardines, also known as whitebait. Sardines move to deeper water offshore to find more stable water temperatures. I have been able to track their location and movement to fill the live well. I start before sunrise and throw my 12-foot, quarter-inch mesh cast net under the brightest bridge light I can find. I don't even attempt to get bait if the fronts produce winds more than 15 knots. It is too dangerous around the bridges to throw a cast net in heavy seas.
Lures: If you cannot find bait, jigs have been producing big numbers of smaller trout and ladyfish, with an occasional flounder mixed in. A red quarter-ounce jig rigged with a white soft-plastic tail is my favorite alternative to bait. I use super glue to attach the tail to the jighead. This helps to keep the tail on longer to catch a few more fish. Let the jig sink to the bottom in sand holes, then snap the jig up. This will imitate a shrimp taking off out of the sand.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.