Last week's cold front slowed some of the flats fishing in the north Pinellas area. Sudden drops in water temperature always mix things up in the shallows for a few days. As the water settles and the temperature stabilizes, look for redfish, snook and trout action to pick up.
Favorable tides also will help inshore anglers hook up. Redfishing had been very good during higher tides. Then the tidal patterns changed to midafternoon lows, leaving many of the area flats dry or barely covered for most daylight hours. Today's high tide is at 9:26 a.m. at Anclote Key, and that will get later by about 50 minutes each day. That means we will have good high water during regular fishing hours for the rest of the week.
Redfish schools will break up at low tide, with individual fish scattering over a wide area. As the tide begins to come in, these singles often can be seen pushing back into very shallow water. Toward the top of the incoming tide they reach their preferred feeding areas, those exposed at low tide. It is here that the fish get back together in the largest schools and when fishermen can catch them. Of course, there are some places the reds can be found grouped at low tide, such as potholes at the edge of the flats and in small channels or "drains" that hold water even during extreme lows. Generally, however, higher tides are preferable for shallow-water redfishing.