Fishing on the flats has been very productive this week even with the high winds. In the North Pinellas region along the coast, south winds are preferred as they tend to push the tide up higher than normal, allowing species like redfish to inhabit the mangrove shores that face to the south.
Redfishing was exceptional this week due to some of those south winds. They also carry a tropical warmth along with them. Winds out of the north this time of year tend to draw in colder air and will also prevent the tide from rising, often making it more difficult to catch fish in their high tide hangouts. Bait is fairly easy to find, however pinfish have been working best. Under the mangroves I’ve been fishing, 9 out of 10 redfish are eating the pinfish rather than sardines.
Cut ladyfish chunks have also worked very well, especially when fishing in the mullet schools. Snook are plentiful, however there are more smaller male fish than the larger females. I think the larger fish are still up in the rivers and haven’t migrated westward quite yet. A few more stable weeks of warm weather and we should see a lot more larger females approaching the barrier islands on their way to the beaches, eventually.
Trout have made a late push and are still occupying the spoil Islands in St. Joseph sound. However like the snook, warm weather will eventually push them out to the beaches as well, vacating the spoil islands until next winter. Spanish mackerel have been cutting off hooks while trout fishing so I expect that the nearshore reefs and hard bottom areas will start to see schools of mackerel and kingfish in the next few weeks as well.
Spring is here and fishing should continue to improve over the next few weeks.