What's hot: It's the opening of trout season in the south zone. Last week while sightcasting redfish, we came across schools of slot-sized and bigger trout.
Tactics: With cold weather coming, trout will move to deeper water and become sluggish. Work grassy areas in 6-8 feet using quarter-ounce jigs bounced through the grass. Set up a drift and fish downwind covering as much water as possible. Working downwind will help keep slack out of your line, better enabling you to feel the pickup. If your trout are small, keep moving. When you find big ones, idle back upwind and redrift the same general area. Residential canals also hold trout. Deeper ones generally produce better. Fish the side that receives more sun.
Tips: As the weather warms, expect trout to hold along deeper edges of the grass flats during low tide. Sunny days will warm the water over dark bottoms considerably. We recorded an 8-degree difference between the channel and flats last week. Move up the flats as the tide rises. Scatter cast to cover water, and never miss a chance to cast around potholes and mullet schools. Jigs, jerk baits and topwater plugs will work well in water shallower than 4 feet.
Paul Hawkins runs FlatsGuy charters out of St. Petersburg and be reached at (727) 560-6762.