Monitor the weather and plan trips for the first calm days after a big blow.
Inshore: Speckled trout have been hitting in the periods of fair weather between cold fronts. Casting jigs while drifting has produced medium-sized trout with pompano, permit, bluefish, and silver trout mixed in. The best areas and depths seems to vary from day to day so keep moving until you find the bite. Many of the bigger trout have separated themselves from the smaller ones, so look in shallower water if you are specifically targeting "gator" trout. Some of the best spots are 2 or 3 feet deep, and since the water is clear in these areas, fish the early morning or on overcast days.
Redfish action has been good when the weather is right, but take the time to explore out-of-way places to find the better schools of fish.
Snook action has been slow because of the cold water. A handful have been caught in the creeks in the upper portions of Tampa Bay and in the deep bends of rivers in the northern areas of our region.
Offshore: Gag and red grouper, as well as red snapper, have been biting, but current regulations dictate that they must be released.As far as fish that can be kept, amberjack have been easy to catch on the big wrecks. Mangrove snapper are an allowable catch and quite abundant, but they have finicky eating habits. Use chum to stimulate feeding and light tackle to draw more strikes.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail [email protected] tacklecharters.com.