Dealing with cold water is nothing new for trout anglers. Most often, fish head to deeper water as they seek more stable temperatures; consequently, deep water near your favorite grass flat will often hold schools of trout until the water temperature moderates a bit, sending them back to the pothole-laden grass flats we associate with good trout habitats. Often this deeper water is the actual marked channel that runs along the Intracoastal. Slowly bouncing soft plastics along the bottom, especially along the dropoff, often yields trout among other winter targets such as flounder, pompano and silver trout. As the sun reappears after the front moves through, it will warm the shallow waters during an afternoon incoming tide. Big trout instinctively know this, and they often will throw caution to the wind and risk overhead predation or perhaps escape the harassment of dolphins as they move up to shin-deep water. With the water being clear now, one of the favorite things for a shallow-water angler is to slowly work along the shallows, usually less than 3 feet, and sight-cast to big trout. These fish usually can be seen sitting in the sand hole and will readily take a weedless jerk bait tossed their way.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.