March is just around the corner, bringing better tides and warmer weather. Bait will also start showing up on the flats and around area bridges in abundance. And snook, trout and redfish will soon feed aggressively.
Snook are ready to feed for the spawning season. Water temperatures will rise quickly, energizing them to eat. Bait is the key to success for spring snook fishing. Pack a livewell with scaled sardines and fish a flat where snook have been caught. Chances are the area will hold fish again this year. Small hooks, such as size 1, seems to work best. Using these hooks will allow bait to swim freely and more important, naturally.
Chum sparingly with live baits. Terns and sea gulls have learned to watch for free baits thrown from boats. Once birds start diving on live chum, the bite can end quickly.
Redfish is one of my favorite fish to target. Huge schools of reds will start showing up on the flats in the bay.
One of the best baits is a live pinfish under a cork. Be careful not to cast into the middle of the school as redfish are spooked easily. Push-poling a flats skiff is the best way to approach a school. Many reds can be caught when care is taken in an approach.
Trout is the easiest of the three fish to target. Drift over grass flats in 3-6 feet and target sand pockets with soft plastic jigs. The edge of potholes are where fish wait to ambush baits moving through the sand.
The best place to target them is where they have been caught before. Every spring fish show up in the same area where I once caught them.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or go to captainrobgorta.com on the Web.