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Checking tide charts this time of year reveals the extreme low tides of winter. Combine these lows with a stiff northerly wind, and there is little water left in the bay. Many flats fishable on a summer low tide will show bare ground.

Using a tide chart that graphs the flow of water and shows water height in decimals, as well as the time, is an important tool in planning trips.

This morning's outgoing tide will bottom out around noon at a negative low. This is fine because it helps concentrate fish in deeper pockets, drop-offs, swash channels and canals.

Lately, I have targeted redfish, snook and sheepshead during these conditions. They can be caught on the same bait at the same locations. A live shrimp fished under docks on deeper residential canals has produced all of these species. Keep the line just tight enough to detect a subtle strike.

Trout season re-opens Monday. Look for keepers to be hanging off the deeper edges of grass flats or in deep mud holes. A free-lined live shrimp will do the trick.

_ Brent Gaskill charters the Summer Vacation. Call (727) 867-1751.