Spotted sea trout are starting to push into the St. Joseph Sound region. Mild temperatures have delayed their full migration, as it has in years past. Typically, multiple cold fronts that keep the water temperatures lower, will usher in more of the larger, female trout. However, there are a few small schools beginning to congregate. Several tactics are working especially this early in the season.
Artificial jerk worms on an 1/8 or 1/4-ounce jig head are getting results. Although sardines are still very plentiful on the flats for cast netting, shrimp have been producing even better for trout and redfish inhabiting the same areas. Methodically working an area by fan casting artificial lures or live bait is key in determining where the schools are laying. Once you’ve covered an area thoroughly without bites, move on. Usually where there is one there can be several.
Redfish are also becoming plenty full. Although most are small, under the slot limit. However, the larger fish are blending in with the mullet schools on most flats. Cut ladyfish, mullet, or pinfish are working when cast directly into the mullet schools. Large shrimp have also produced results.
Since the water temperature has increased back into the low 70’s, snook are still cooperating. They are responding to live sardines especially on the falling tides flowing out of the backwaters around the mouths of bays and canals. This should be the pattern for the next few days or weeks until the next cold front arrives.