High winds have subsided and the weather is warming. Cold fronts are possible even into early April so be ready to adjust to find and catch fish. Extremely clear water forced us to downsize tackle to 20 pounds and 15-pound leader. Smaller hooks like No. 1 or 2 can be hidden easier in live baits. On a recent trip, two rods I hadn't switched over to lighter leaders were not getting bites, although we were surrounded by trout in 3-4 feet of water. As soon as 20-pound leader was tied on, bites started. Tides have affected the bite. Moving tides are a stimulant for fish. If you are in an area with a stagnant tide, consider moving where the tide moves around a point, closer to a pass. Redfish have been eating through all phases of the tides but higher waters allow them to reach mangrove shorelines and oyster bars where they forage on bait. Hundreds of snook in north Pinellas are staging along the spoil islands and mouths of creeks, rivers and bays. The water temp dipped into the upper 50s this past week, shutting the snook bite down for a while. Mackerel and kingfish are being reported 8-15 miles out.
Brian Caudill fishes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs. He can be reached at (727) 365-7560 and captbrian.com.