What's hot: Trout are warming up with the temperature this week. After just a couple of days of warmer weather they have already become more cooperative, especially around spoil islands, though in smaller schools than usual. Look for the best bite around moving tides; early morning is best. Use large, live shrimp, either freelined or under a float, with three to four feet of 20-pound leader. If the tide is low, focus on the first sign of a dropoff, usually several yards from the shoreline. The incoming tide will bring fish closer to the rocky perimeter of the islands, but not until there is higher water.
Tip: Surrounding flats have held good numbers of large trout. When you search a new area, artificial baits let you cover more water quickly. I prefer to throw a jerkworm or a small paddle tail pattern with a quarter-ounce jighead. Use lighter greens or gold on clear days and darker colors in murky waters or overcast days. Sandy potholes in 3-4 feet of water often hold trout, but always be prepared for a redfish to jump out of a hole and grab your offering.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.