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Captain's corner

By DOUG HEMMER

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001


March is one of the best times for artificial lures. Extreme low tides and a lack of baitfish leave the flats void of action.

As water temperatures start rising, look for schools of redfish and snook in areas that held fish before winter. These areas will have enough water to hold fish, but there will be little for them to eat. This is when we start using the "Big Three" in lures: Topwaters, gold spoons and jigs, when used together, allow you to cover the entire water column.

Topwater plugs work best in early morning or in overcast, windy conditions. Low light conditions bring out trophy fish, and a topwater plug will fool these smart fish into eating something fake before really checking it out.

When the surface action slows, we switch to spoons and jigs. Spoons flash and their fast presentation allows you to cover more water. Jigs are used when the fish are deep or want a slower retrieve. This action should hold until the first schools of bait arrive.

The first areas that will see fish are Weedon Island, the MacDill Flats, the east side of St. Petersburg and the east side of Tampa Bay. This is transition time, so don't be afraid to keep moving from spot to spot.

- Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.

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