What's hot: With a very moderate winter, many inshore species are showing late spring patterns. The larger speckled trout have started to move out onto the beaches and jetties along the coast. Incoming tides seem to stimulate these females on a better feeding pattern. Most of the trout will hang deep in troughs and be found tight to the rocks or structures. The snook are beginning to stack up along the Spoil Islands working out from the back country. Larger, free-lined greenbacks are the ticket to getting these finicky fish to feed. The passes are showing good numbers of linesiders on swift-moving tides around new and full moons.
Tips: The most prevalent inshore species found now are redfish, which are schooling up and moving into the grass flats, oyster bars and docks throughout St. Joseph Sound. The reds are following the mullet schools into the shallows as the tide floods, feeding on bait and crabs that get flushed out of the grass. On higher tides, these schools will move into the mangrove tree line and aggressively hit anything tossed into the shadow line. This combat zone can make for a great bite for anglers prepared with the right tackle.
Tackle: When fishing for reds in the trees, anglers need 25-pound leader with a heavy splitshot right above the hook to keep the bait in the strike zone for a longer period. This will help reduce cutoffs from overhanging limbs.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at email@example.com.