Huge speckled trout are still roaming the shallow grass flats and if you hurry, you can get in on some of the best trout action this year. Mark Shay, Mark Stintzi and Rick Rodman and his son AJ had the treat of catching some of these big yellow-mouths on a recent charter in lower Tampa Bay.
"Do you think it's too windy to fish?" Shay asked. "Not at all," I replied. "In fact, I prefer having a good breeze when we're fishing for trout. We'll catch more fish." A steady breeze puts a little chop on the water so fish have a harder time seeing the boat. It also pushes the boat briskly, letting you traverse more water than being anchored. Another advantage windy conditions provide are longer casts. Covering more water means more bites.
Drifting the lush turtle grassflats near Tierra Verde, all four anglers pitched 1/16-ounce lead head jigs dressed with 4-inch strawberry-red, motor-oil glitter plastic shrimp tails. Working the jigs so they stayed just below the surface and not down in the thick grass was key to many bites. It wasn't long before AJ had the jig working, putting nice-sized trout in the cooler. Then Shay took his turn. Then Stintzi had the biggest trout of the day, measuring 24.5 inches. Rick Rodman was on a dry spell until the captain tail-whipped him with one of his son's keepers. On the next cast the elder Rodman landed a 21-incher.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 510-4376.