Starting on the flats… the trout and redfish have been piled up in the shallows. On higher tides, the fish have been right up along the shoreline, mixed in amongst the reed beds and feeding on finger mullet and pilchards.
As the tide drops out, most of those fish move out to the many sandbars, depressions, and potholes that are scattered over the outside of the flats. If you start early, you can get into a good topwater bite for trout and redfish but, for me, the clean water makes it much more fun to wait until the sun comes up a little and spot cast to fish cruising or laid up in sand.
Hair and rubber jigs work great, but the color and body shape that are most productive may change from day to day or even throughout the day.
Flounder have also been hanging out near the shallow water in the deeper sand, just on the outside of the grass. You will find most of these fish scattered out, but certain features like deep sandy cuts that run way up into the grass flat will congregate fish enough to catch several in one location. Rubber jigs have been doing great but you can also use small live baits on a Carolina rig or a drop shot rig. If you use live baits, make sure you let the fish eat for a few seconds before you set the hook.
On the beaches and in the bays near the passes, you’ll find pompano cruising down long sandy beaches and sandbars. The bigger fish are generally pretty easy to spot as they have a fairly dark back and wide body. I like to throw small heavy jigs, but live shrimp and small crabs work very well also. The small 2 inch D.O.A. teaser shrimp on a ¼ ounce jig head is a pompano killer. Along the beaches, surf fisherman have done well using dead shrimp and sand fleas on a two hook rig fished on the bottom. If you are surf fishing, it pays to have a couple of rods out so that you have a chance at multiple hook ups when the school swims by.
Over deep structures in the bay, bull redfish have been plentiful and fairly willing to eat. Of course, a good amount of tide helps to put them in the mood to eat so, if you want to catch the big fish, try to coordinate your fishing time with a good amount of water movement. The most productive lures of late have been the D.O.A. 5½ inch jerk bait on a ½ ounce jig-head. You definitely want a jig head with a strong hook because some of these big redfish will be in the 30-40 pound range. Also mixed in the deep structure with the redfish are the occasional red snapper and gag grouper. I don’t generally target the red snapper in the bay but I sometimes hook them as by-catch when targeting bull reds on the bottom with jigs.