What's hot: With each moon phase, more inshore game fish enter the shallows to feed. Spring will arrive soon, and fish will increasingly forage over the next few weeks. Higher tides are bringing more food onto the flats, and larger redfish and trout will follow. There has been a steady increase of larger reds throughout the waters off north Pinellas, attracted by any type of oyster bar or flat limerock. The clear water has these fish on high alert, and long casts are necessary. Downsizing main line to 8-pound braid adds 20 feet to a cast and providesstealth. For fish that will not feed, deadstick a cut bait. Pace a cast into the desired area and let it sit. When a fish picks up the scent trail in the tide, there is less hesitance to refuse the bait. Mullet, ladyfish and pinfish are best for cut pieces of bait.
Pro's tip: When searching out redfish on the flats, use a weedless spoon to cover a lot ground. A copper spoon with a brown bucktail trailer acts like fleeing crab, and anglers can retrieve with any motion to bring the lure to life. When throwing artificials, anglers can keep a steady eye on the surrounding flat for signs of fish.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 439-9017.