Speckled trout fishing continues to be outstanding in the North Pinellas and Pasco areas. Day trips have been producing 50 trout or more regularly, with nearly constant action. The average size has been better than normal, with 3-pound fish common and 5-pounders a possibility on just about any cast.
Normally, the larger fish are in shallower water and the smaller ones spread over deeper grass flats. Lately, however, a simple drift in 4 to 5 feet has been yielding a mix of big and small trout as well as ladyfish, bluefish and an occasional pompano. When you drift through the right area, just about every cast gets hit by something.
Quarter-ounce soft plastic jigs are the easiest to use and have been the most effective. Experienced jiggers do well by bouncing shad- or trout-style jigs, and for the less experienced casters a "twister" type tail may work better. These long, curly tails derive their swimming action from any movement through the water and can draw strikes even if not jigged. They also sink much more slowly, so they do not get caught in the grassy bottom as often.
Due to the large numbers of fish being caught and released, it is important for anglers to handle the fish properly. Never wrap a dry towel or rag around a trout. This can completely remove the slime coat the fish needs to survive. Specks do not have sharp gill plates or dangerous fins and can be held gently behind the head, unhooked and released.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail infolighttacklecharters.com.