Warming up. Wow. We actually have a whole week without a cold front. Every day this week, the fishing has gotten better. The water temperature continues to warm up, and by this weekend fishing should be on fire. The best fishing this time of year is in the afternoon. We have a good incoming tide the second half of the day. The fish will get more comfortable as the tide rises.
Bait. There are scaled sardines all over the Skyway bridge. I know it is a run, but if you are able to get this bait the reward is worth it. Redfish are stacked up on the outside flat from Piney Point all the way down to Little Cockroach Bay. A quiet approach is the key to not spooking the school. The water is so clear this time of year they see you from 30 yards away. Cut-scaled sardines have been the bait of choice. You may need to put a split shot on to keep the birds from grabbing it. If you see the school move, don't chase them. Sit tight and once they settle down they usually will make their way back to you.
Trout. The big trout have also moved in. Target these fish in about 1-2 feet of water. Try a big scaled sardine fished under a cork. The cork will slow the bait down. If the trout seem like they are getting spooked by the big bait and cork, then I would switch to cut bait. Fish them the same way you would when fishing for redfish.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Call him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.