Change of pace: Winter low tides combined with cold fronts can produce rewarding fishing. Winds 20-plus mph out of the northeast help create a low tide that empties out of Tampa Bay and exposes every nook and cranny that reds and trout want to hang out in. Every flat has a sandbar on the outer edge. This is the "highway" fish travel on extreme low tides.
What to look for: I drive my boat to the sandbar's edge and look for cuts that lead into the flat. .Outgoing tides form a channel that the water wants to flow off. I like to find that area and target it. Redfish and trout will use the same path to travel on and off the flat.
Gear: The weather is usually cold. I wear neoprene waders, gloves, boots and belt. I use a 7-foot rod rigged with 10-pound test with 25-pound leader. Soft plastic baits on a red quarter-ounce jig head are my favorite. Crank baits and top-water plugs usually don't work because the water is so shallow. Any eel-type or grub plastic tail will. I throw the jig in the sandy areas and let it hit the bottom, creating a poof of sand that imitates a crab or shrimp.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at captainrobgorta.com or (727) 647-7606.