Cooler water has affected the habits of many inshore fish. Some such as snook will become elusive as they move away from the grass flats and mangroves and into the residential canals and brackish backwaters.
Others such as flounder have gathered around nearshore structures and rock piles. One of the flounder's favorite structures is cement culverts, which have been dropped on many of the Pinellas and Pasco artificial reefs. Because flounder are ambush feeders, bring your bait to them. Slowly drag it across the bottom, covering as much area as possible. It might cost you a few snags to figure out how the structure sits, but once you do, it is easy to work a weighted live bait around its edges.
In the hard-hitting, tough-fighting department, big jack cravelles and bluefish have been schooling together on some north Pinellas flats. These schools can be spotted by the large wakes they create while pushing across the shallow flats. By flinging a topwater plug ahead of their path and reeling it back quickly across the surface you are nearly assured awesome surface strikes. The bigger jacks have been in the 10-pound range, and the blues that have been mixed in have been 4 to 7 pounds. Neither is great for the table, but there are few fish that attack a lure so aggressively and fight so hard on light tackle.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call 727 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org