What's hot: Winter low tides combined with cold fronts passing through can lead to rewarding fishing. It takes winds blowing 20-plus mph out of the northeast combined with an extremely low tide around the new moon and full moon phases, but the result is a tide that empties out the bay and exposes every nook and cranny that redfish and trout will get caught in.
Tips: Steer the boat down the edge of the sand bar and look for cuts that lead into the flat. Strong outgoing tides form channels in the sand bar that the water flows through. Redfish and trout will use those same channels to travel on and off of the flat. Anchor your boat far enough away from the channel so you don't block the path the fish want to travel.
Tackle: Air temperatures are usually cold. I have neoprene waders, gloves, boots and a belt that makes it possible to fish in the cold weather. I use a 7-foot rod rigged with 10-pound braid and a 25-pound leader. Soft-plastic baits on a red quarter-ounce jig head are my favorite. Any eel type or grub plastic tail will work. I throw the jig in the sandy areas and let it hit the bottom every time, creating a poof of sand, imitating a crab or shrimp.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.