What's hot: Southerly wind this week should provide higher tides on the flats. It also usually helps keep temperatures up. These factors may produce exceptional flats action around the bay area.
Red alert: A primary target for flats aficionados during winter is redfish. These reliable fish are one of the largest you can expect to catch regularly all winter. In North Pinellas, some of the best redfish action takes place when the wind kicks up from the south. Windward shorelines get stirred up and make the water just murky enough to inspire aggressive feeding. Having the wind at your back allows long casts and placing baits across a wide swath of the bank from left to right. Contrary to what many consider to be the ideal flats-fishing condition, calm and clear is not usually the best. Churned up a bit and off is preferable.
Target No. 2: Another staple winter target species is spotted sea trout. The water from Clearwater to Cedar Key is home to one of the state's greatest concentrations of this popular fish. Drifting the deeper grass flats while casting jigs almost always provides constant action from trout of varying sizes and a fun mix of by-catch, including pompano, permit, mackerel, ladyfish and jack crevalle. Keep in mind that harvest of spotted sea trout is closed in the southern region until Jan. 1.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.