Huge schools of scaled sardines have arrived inshore off Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. This abundant food source has inspired a variety of game fish to feed. We have loaded the baitwell with good-sized baits by throwing the net after watching for pelicans diving. Snook fishing has been the best this year with the peak coming during late afternoon outgoing tides when warm water pulls back out of the rivers and creeks toward the gulf.
Schools of big speckled trout are gathering for their spring spawn. These big pods move daily but when you find them the action can be nonstop. Steve Jourdenais and his family were onboard when we discovered such a pod on a recent trip; we caught 35 trout from 2-4 pounds before leaving them biting to seek something different. Since nearly all larger specks are full of roe now, most were released.
Spanish mackerel have taken over the beaches and deeper grass flats close to the gulf. Many have been 3-5 pounds. Free-lining scaled sardines on ultralight tackle near the frenzied schools is as close to a sure thing as you'll get.
Kingfish have been thick off of Dunedin and Anclote Key in 35-40 feet, providing small-boat anglers the opportunity to catch kings and mackerel during the calm morning, then return to the flats for snook, trout and redfish when the afternoon sea breeze kicks in.