What's hot: Spoil islands in northern Pinellas are still holding good concentrations of trout. Target peak tidal movement for the best action. Soft-plastic jigs in natural shrimp colors work well, as does a free-lined select shrimp. If you're looking for a good shrimp alternative, try setting out a pinfish trap over shell bottom. Bait the trap with frozen sardines on a full tide — either incoming or outgoing — and the trap should load up with small pinfish and grunts, both of which work great for trout.
Tips: The beaches from John's Pass north to Indian Shores have been holding plenty of silver trout. Drift with the wind and tide, and bounce brightly colored soft-plastic jigs off the bottom to locate them. When it's too rough to drift, use a bottom machine to help locate the trout. The schools will hold near the bottom in 8 to 15 feet of water.
Tactics: Windy days are becoming more the norm, which makes sheepshead fishing a good option along bridge fenders, pilings and deep residential docks near the passes. Shrimp, fiddler crabs and barnacles all work well. Scrape the barnacles off the pilings to get the fish to feed, especially on those cold days.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at [email protected]