The Tampa Bay Times
Bait has swiftly returned to the flats in northern Pinellas County. Chumming on your favorite grass flat will likely produce more than enough bait to throw a cast net on. Most of the beaches are holding bait in the early morning hours just as the sun peaks up. Snook remain on some of the rocky structures along the beach however, cooler overnight temperatures have dropped the water temperature a couple of degrees, pushing the snook even further to the east towards their eventual winter hangouts. Most of the larger female snook are already finding some of the creeks mouths, bayous and residential canals. Redfish are definitely around yet a little timid. The best results lately have been around the larger moon phases. Reds will typically school better five days or so prior to a full or new moon. Cut chunks of ladyfish or pinfish work best when needing to throw a long distance. Targeting mullet schools is still a favored method for finding redfish. Often a school of 10 to even 100 fish will blend in with large mullet schools seeking protection from the dolphin and sharks that also target them on the flats. The trout population is pretty thin. I believe the red tide outbreak of this past summer has affected them the most. Although there are a few returning, hopefully the inevitable cold fronts will drive them back into St. Joseph Sound.