Bait: We're finally seeing consistent bait showing up on the flats throughout Tampa Bay. When it comes to size, it is a mixed bag. I use a quarter-inch mesh net and even then still get a few stickers. The better bait is in about 4 to 5 feet of water. You will want to chum them up with tropical fish food. I wouldn't even bother getting on the flat too early and throwing. If you wait until the sun comes up, you will only have to throw a couple of times.
Redfish: August and September should see more redfish action around the Tampa Bay area. The bay notoriously produces good catches of redfish; you just need to find the ones ready to eat. Redfish tend to push into the mangrove-lined shores and oyster bars on incoming tides where live bait normally produces good catches along with cut bait. Early morning artificial lures fished on the grass flats and around the mangroves usually offer some excellent excitement as well. Work both incoming and outgoing tides.
Trout: Tampa Bay trout have come back like gangbusters. They are making their transition back from the beaches and are eating everything in sight. It's not unusual to catch a limit of trout for dinner on any grass flat provided you're on good incoming or outgoing tides. If you're free-lining white bait and the current is moving, you might need to add split shot to keep the bait down. In water 5 feet or shallower, try a popping cork, but again, you might want to add a little weight.
Mike Gore charters out of Tampa Bay. Contact him at (813) 390-6600 or visit tampacharters.com.