Take your pick: It is the best time of the year for fishing in the bay area. Tarpon can be targeted off any of the bridges. The Gandy, Howard Frankland and Skyway would be my top choices to start. While waiting for a tarpon to strike, kill time by dropping smaller baits for Spanish mackerel. Redfish have been hanging around oyster bars on the extreme high tides in the afternoon. A small pinfish under a float is my bait of choice. You can pitch next to the mangroves and monitor where the bait is at all times.
Other targets: Trout continues to provide action in shallow grass flats. I have been targeting mullet schools using large-scaled sardines. Use a cork to prevent the sardine from burying itself in the grass. This also will slow down the bait and make it an easy target. Cobia have been roaming the flats on top of monster stingrays and spotted eagle rays looking for easy meals. When you see a huge ray, toss a pinfish around the ray. Cobia can come out of nowhere and strike.
Blacktip sharks have been roaming the sandbars outside of the gulf passes. Anchor on the edge of the channel and hang a chum block over the side. Use a large, free-lined pinfish rigged with heavy wire to prevent fish from biting through the leader. I tried snook fishing a couple of times with no luck in the usual spring haunts. Looks like another slow snook season in the Pinellas Point area from the cold weather the past two winters.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit www.captainrobgorta.com.