Despite the weather, fishing in northern Pinellas was good last week. Recent rains have cooled the water a few degrees, and the trout and redfish have been active. High tides in the morning have had the redfish working the edges of oyster bars throughout the Intracoastal Waterway. Most of the fish are on the smaller side, ranging from 16-22 inches, and are often found in numbers. Use a live shrimp or pilchard under a float, or bounce scented soft plastics rigged on a ⅛-ounce jighead. Trout fishing has been really good recently. Deep grassy areas inside the passes are holding an abundance of small baitfish attracting trout, ladyfish, mackerel and others. Free-lining live pilchards with the current should keep you busy when the current is running strong. Most of the trout are undersized; however, the larger pilchards will attract the attention of the keeper-sized trout. Shark fishing has also been productive, whether you're targeting small 3- to 5-foot blacktips or a variety of bigger sharks. Set up in deeper water adjacent to shallow flats, areas that are holding schools of fry bait indicated by dipping turns. Working the surface will be more productive. Typically we use the same sized equipment used for redfishing when targeting the smaller blacktips, and tarpon rods work great for putting out bigger baits for the larger sharks. Keep a fresh chum block out and fish with live pinfish and grass grunts when targeting the blacktips. Use oily baits on the bottom such as shad, mullet or ladyfish when targeting the larger sharks.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.