The water is 10 degrees warmer than in weeks past. The rise has increased the feeding patterns of trout, redfish and snook. Most are feeding best during solunar periods and the first hour of a tide change.
Snook on the east side of Tampa Bay are hanging out in the back canals that lead to rivers or residential areas. Anglers fishing the Apollo Beach area and the canals to the south have reported good action when using white or pearl slug-style jigs. A slow drag across the bottom has produced the most strikes. Look for snook sunning in the shallows. It's still catch and release, but you'll know where to fish when snook season opens Feb. 1.
Trout have moved back into the 3- to 4-foot grass beads that line the dropoff of the flats. Strawberry and motor oil jigs dragged along the area where the sand meets the grass have produced the most trout. A strong tide movement has the best action. Look for areas that have signs of life. Cormorants, dolphins and ospreys are good signs that the area is holding good numbers of trout. Look at your lure before casting; if the jig has pulled back off its head, the lure on't swim straight and will spin like a helicopter blade. Push the jig back on before casting. If it comes off every cast or so, put on a new tail. Catches of 50 or more trout are common this time of year. Squeezing down the barb will make the release of undersized fish easy.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.