What's hot: Anglers have been catching a lot of Spanish mackerel the last few weeks. Live, frisky whitebait have been hard for the fish to turn down. Chumming keeps them interested, but don't chum too much or the birds will cause problems. Redfish and snook are waiting just outside of the mouths of creeks and canals. On the falling tides the fish are gorging on baitfish riding the tide. Every cold front pushes them back, then the quick warmup fires them up. Scaled sardines are the top bait, and the same rules for chumming apply.
Tips: Trout are ambushing baits on the open flats. Look for potholes, no matter how small, and toss sardines under a cork nearby. Popping the cork creates a sound similar to a top-water strike and gets the attention of those nearby. Trout can be aggressive feeders. Bait are pushing up into the bay, and several flats are holding them. The problem is, they seem to be on a different flat every day. For whatever reason, the bait are balling up around 9 a.m. when the sun starts warming the water.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.