Water temperatures in the 50s mixed with extremely low tides leave few inshore options. Snook will become lethargic feeders. And redfish find few areas with enough water to reach mangrove or their feeding grounds around oyster beds.
The most dependable species are trout and sheepshead. Trout move to the 4- to 6-foot grass flats. Lower Tampa Bay has only a few grass flats at that depth. For the past week, we have gone to the grass beds north of the Dunedin Causeway. Most flats west of the Intracoastal Waterway are 4 feet or deeper.
Working green slug style jigs close to the bottom produced 65 trout between 15 and 22 inches. The best areas to drift had cormorants or dolphins working the flats. The trick for trout is keeping the line tight between the rod tip and jig. Even the slightest bit of slack will prevent you from feeling a strike.
Sheepshead from John's Pass to the south side of the Sunshine Skyway bridge remain strong. Most bridge pilings and docks close to a pass have plenty.
When tides are running in the minus zone, look for green mussels on bridge pilings. Scrape a few gallons into a bucket and shuck some for bait. Using a small plank of a 2 by 4, smash the remaining mussels into chum. Throw a handful around the pilings to create a feeding frenzy.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.