The cold, wet weather around Christmas made fishing tough, but last week made up for it. Strong low tides, coupled with warm weather, light breezes and sunny skies made for tremendous redfish and trout action.
Reds and trout have been feeding actively in 10 to 15 inches during low tides. They have been extremely boat shy in these depths, so wade fishing is your best bet. Motor oil grubtail jigs are the most productive bait for reds, while chartreuse or hot pink tails work best for trout.
These strong low tides are ideal for sight casting reds with a fly. The last couple of hours of falling tide, and the first few hours of incoming tide, may show good numbers of tailing fish that are suckers for small crab imitations or dark bend-back patterns. Sight your fish, present your fly a few feet ahead of its line of travel and twitch your fly slowly as the fish approaches.
On the high tides, drifting the grass flats with noisy topwater plugs works well for trout in 2- to 3-feet depths. Shrimp or bright jigs under a popping cork are a good bet, as well. Jerk baits and neutral buoyancy hard baits will take reds and trout in depths to about 5 feet.
These tactics should work well as long as the warm weather holds out. It looks like we're in for another week of great Florida sunshine.
Paul Hawkins charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 560-6762 or at capnpaulflatsguy.com.