What's hot: How about Weedon Island redfish, some Picnic Island snook and a few trout mixed in with some great weather for fishing.
Redfish: The fishing in the bay has been good, but Weedon Island, Fourth Street Flat and the Kitchen are on fire. This is especially true on the end of the outgoing tide and the beginning of the incoming tide around the potholes in the Christmas Pass area. There are a few ways to fish them. If you use live bait, then anchor up-current of the potholes and chum with live sardines. Or, cut them up and toss them into the hole and when the smell goes down-current they will follow it up-current to the hole you're chumming. The other way is sight casting to them with fly or spinning gear from the front of a skiff of flats boat. The baits of choice: a weedless jerk bait or a gold spoon and a crab pattern for fly fishing.
Snook: The snook are leaving the creeks and the deep water and making their way to the passes and creek mouths over the next few weeks as their biological clock starts to send them into their spawning mode. The south end of Weedon Island around to the power plant along with the big island gap and the rocks at Picnic Island all hold good snook. The bait of choice is a live sardine or shrimp, but as the water warms, fishing the top water first thing in the morning is a great way to fish for snook. As the sun rises, try switching over to a jerk bait or a twitch bait.
Trout: The water is starting to warm for some good trout fishing over the grass flats at the end of Weedon Island and the Culbreath Isle flats in the 2-to 4-feet of water over grass. As for bait, use a sardine under a cork or a weedless jerk bait and a bait fish pattern for you fly guys and gals.
Tip: Iif you are making that run down to the bridge to catch sardines and run back to your spot to snook or redfish you are almost guaranteed a great day of catching fish.
Capt. Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at [email protected]