Mackerel. Over the past week, my anglers have whipped up on the Spanish mackerel. Live shrimp free-lined on a long shank hook with 40-pound leader has been the ticket. Yes, there is bait in the bay, but mackerel are not the most finicky eaters. The trick is to make a long cast and let the bait sink slowly, then create a slow drag by moving the rod tip from parallel to the water to pointing at the sky, let the rod tip fall and the tide pull the slack out, let it sink again and repeat.
Redfish. Redfish are still spooky in the clear water. Long casts and patience are both great assets to land one of these wary creatures.
Snook and trout. Snook are pushing out of the river systems and staging at the mouths in ambush for unexpecting baitfish flushing out. Trout are also beginning to show up in force. Again, the upper reaches of the bay have not seen whitebait as of now, so they are still on a crustacean pattern. But if you show up with the "candy," you'll be like the ice cream man riding through the neighborhood: popular with everybody.
Bait. Bait is pushing up into the bay, and if we have a couple of weeks without a strong front, it will make a move onto the flats. My guess is the next full moon should do it.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.