GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Bill Miller.
The dropping water temperature has fired up the North Suncoast trout season. The grass flats and Intracoastal Waterway spoil islands from Clearwater Bay north to Anclote Key have started giving anglers all the trout action they can handle, even on the coldest days. Soft plastic jigs bounced over the top of the grass in 3-6 feet of water produces the most action. Jig tail colors vary from day to day, so start with your favorite and if that doesn't work, just switch colors until the hot color is found.
Drifting is a good technique to cover a lot of ground and locate groups of trout. Cast ahead of your drift. If you hook a trout or two, quietly drop the anchor and fish there. If the bite turns off, pick up the anchor and start drifting again. When it is time to go back upwind and make another drift, swing out wide around the area you are going to drift. If other boats are drifting the same area, motor slowly past them.
The spoil islands are best fished by anchoring and fishing back to the drop-offs on the island edge. Live shrimp, horn-hooked and suspended under a cork, is the best fishing method. A free-lined shrimp will also work, but it will have a tendency to hang up in the rocky bottom. Do not be surprised to catch pompano, bluefish, redfish, sheepshead and others fishing with shrimp.