What's hot: Recent heavy west winds have put the kibosh on fishing off St. Pete Beach, where Spanish mackerel, flounder, snapper, sharks, cobia and catch-and-release gag grouper have been the norm. After this wicked weather settles down, look for those fish to still be abundant and eager to take white bait, greenbacks and cut squid. Outgoing tides have produced the best bites.
Strategy: Getting on the lee side of the Mangrove Islands will produce redfish (red drum) and the occasional gator-speckled trout on the full moon hide tides. The key to fishing these islands is finding big mullet. Use cut mullet or greenbacks, which will bring strikes if presented properly. Rig an unweighted 2/0 circle or J-hook and put the bait as close to the bushes as possible. The scent might draw in pinfish activity as well, but it also will draw in what you're looking for. Tarpon are still in back bay canals and bayous that are protected from the wind. They can be finicky. Cast a free-line pinfish in front of them when they roll.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 510-4376