What's hot: Bait is plentiful on the north Pinellas coast. The beach is loaded with scaled sardines and threadfin herring, making filling the well easy with a cast net. Look for birds dipping and diving on bait schools. An abundance of bait also makes it easier to chum with large amounts of free baits, attracting fish to an area and giving away their location by chasing and exploding on a bait near the surface.
Tips: Snook are staging along the eastern shore between docks and around deeper edges. Incoming tides have been best. Redfish and trout are swimming along with mullet schools on most flats. Slinging some sardines toward these areas will often show where the fish are, especially around sandy potholes on a shallow grassflat. Nearshore, mackerel, mangrove snapper and kingfish have been recent targets. Slow trolling baits around large bait schools have gotten hits by large Spanish mackerel and small kingfish. Chumming pieces of cut baits over artificial reefs have brought snapper, hitting cut baits on a small hook.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and through his website at captbrian.com.