Redfish and speckled trout continue to be the top inshore species.
Redfish are holding on the edges of flats during the winter low tides, waiting for the tide to flood. There are three to four schools in the Pinellas Point area that I can target on a daily basis. I start a little later in the morning, so I can locate a school. The angle of the early morning sun is so low that it makes it difficult to locate schools, so I use extreme caution in approaching an area. The combination of low tides and clear water make redfish wary. Once they are spooked, it is hard to get them to take any bait. If that happens, I move on to the next area. When the tide level floods enough to fill the flats, I move into the usual areas to find the schools.
Speckled trout have provided the most consistent action this winter. Deep grass flats in the 4- to 5-foot range have been holding big numbers of fish.
Locate fish using a quarter-ounce jig rigged with a soft-plastic tail. Use Super Glue to keep the tail on the jig; this gives you a few more uses out of the tail. Be ready, when trout are hooked; they come to the surface and shake their head trying to throw the jig.
The warm weather has allowed me to catch scaled sardines all winter. I start before sunrise and throw my quarter-inch cast net underneath the brightest streetlights on a bridge. The small mesh net will prevent smaller baits from getting caught in the net.
It has been helpful having large scaled sardines in the well as the larger "gator" trout find them hard to pass up.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.