What's hot: With the water temperature getting cooler, fish will stop being lethargic. Start using lures with a fast retrieve. Crank baits that run 4-8 feet deep allow you to cover more area quickly. Places to target: drop-offs along the edge of the flats, deep potholes and residential docks. Use a plug that dives deep enough to touch the bottom.
Tackle: Rig rods with an 8-12 pound line and a 20-pound leader. Some of the hot colors are black and white, black and gold, and chartreuse. The plug should run straight during the retrieve. If the plug runs to the right or left, use pliers to tune the metal loop where the ring is attached. Use a loop knot when tying to the ring on the plug. This gives the lure-added action.
Areas to target: Fish docks that have a deep cut between the dock and a grass flat. A 20-30 foot cut will hold the most fish. Along the drop-off of the flats, look for areas that have bait raining on the surface. Around the potholes, work the sand closest to the grass. If you don't have a boat, fish shorelines around the bridges. Some of the best fish will be on the bends closest to the bridge.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389