Winter time is definitely upon us and with that said for inshore anglers we set our sights on some of the great trout fishing that this area is known for.
In the northern part of the region, Dunedin/St. Joseph’s Sound is prime trout habitat. The many spoil islands that line the main channel are full of trout this time of year. The water is clean and the bottom is diverse, laden with grass, hard-bottom and rocks. Drift fishing around these islands is an effective way to cover water and find the schools of fish. Soft-plastic jigs are easy to fish and work as good as live bait for the trout. Using a quarter ounce jig-head will help you get your jig down quick, color is up to you.
In the southern part of the region spoil islands give way to lush grass, peppered with potholes that make great ambush stations for trout. Fort De Soto Park is a great place for boaters and non-boaters alike to enjoy the expansive grass flats. Cast live or artificial shrimp in any of the sand holes and you’re likely to get bit.
East winds have made it possible to fish the beach for silver trout and flounder, target near-shore artificial reefs and jetties for flounder that are lying on the bottom waiting to pounce a live shrimp or white bait rigged on a drop-shot. Silver trout are schooled up along the beach. The schools can be found as close as the swim buoys and as far out as a half a mile or so. Look for diving birds to help narrow the search for the trout. If there are no birds around you can simply drift with the wind and tide as you cast soft plastic jigs.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at email@example.com. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.