Trout have been my most productive target during the start of this new year. Winter cold fronts and cold water are making conditions difficult to target snook and reds. Strong winds from passing fronts make it hard to work the shallow-water flats. The wave action causes water to slap the hull, making a lot of noise. This spooks reds long before you even see them. On the other hand, higher winds make conditions ideal for trout fishing. I will use my bottom machine to locate grass flats in 3-5 feet of water. Motor to the edge of the grass flats upwind and deploy a sea anchor. The anchor slows your drift and allows for more effective coverage of the area. If I have a good drift, I will run back upwind and use my GPS tracker to arrange the next drift. The Fort De Soto area has a lot of grass flats, so I will target the deeper flats of these areas. The Dunedin area has a lot of spoil islands, so I will bounce from island to island looking for fish. Light tackle can make trout fishing more enjoyable. A 10-braided line (2-pound diameter) with 20-pound camouflage leader and a quarter-ounce red jighead with a soft plastic bait is my favorite lure. There are many plastic tails out there; it is just a matter of preference. Root beer and white are my favorite colors.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit

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