High northeast winds this week will keep anglers seeking protection from the strong blows. Tides will fall lower than normal due to the high winds blowing the tides out. These situations make it perfect for finding edges and lowtide holes that fish are forced into. Redfish congregate along the broken edges of the flats, grouping with mullet schools, and foraging on crustaceans and small crabs while waiting for the waters to rise. Artificial shrimp patterns worked slowly through the sand holes and along the deeper edges will get hit as well as live pinfish pinned to the bottom by a small splitshot. Trout and snook are often found in these same areas. Try paddle tail style jigs in a new penny color for tannin stained waters and lighter white and chartreuse colors for clearer waters. Greenbacks are still getting attacked by all species. In shallow waters, try a float with just a couple feet of leader to keep the baits just above the bottom. Prior to the front coming through, the nearshore bite around the local reefs in north Pinellas had been incredible. Spanish mackerel were very cooperative as well as a few small kingfish. Mangrove snapper were balling up behind the boat while chumming but very finicky, only eating at the turn of the tide using 15-pound leader and a small hook hidden in cut pieces of sardines. As the winds subside this week the offshore bite should improve.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.