Inshore limestone bottom retains heat and are the first areas to finding snook, redfish and trout in their spring transition. Along the upper Suncoast, the reds have been plentiful and achieving double digit catches is virtually an everyday occurrence. Spotted seatrout are being found on the grass edges just outside of limestone outcroppings, cul-de-sacs and rocky points. A stealth approach to ultra shallow water trout is paramount to success. Once spooked, the fish will often not return to that spot for the rest of the day. For the first time this winter, we encountered marauding jacks in the same areas this week. Reduced slot size makes a keeper snook challenging to find, but the season for practicing safe catch-and-release fishing of line-siders is now. Live greenies are snook candy this time of year.
Cool mornings make one think twice about fishing without using artificial baits. However, persistence and patience in locating live bait is key to a successful day on the water. Live, scaled sardines are the difference between a good and phenomenal day of fishing. Even though you may not see the baits, they are there. Watch water for flips and flashes. A few extra throws of the cast net might be required to find them if they are deep in the water column. Once a few are caught, keep chumming to concentrate the baits and fill the live well.
Capt. Robert McCue can be reached at (800) 833-0489 or through his web site www.GiantTarpon.com.