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Bait Scouting


I Have a few charters coming up and I decided to take advantage of some “down time” to try and locate bait that has been hard to find. I started at Fort De Soto gulf pier, there were plenty of baits just below the surface. I took off and went toward the Bay pier. The bay pier had bait on the south end right under the yellow building / tackle store. On my way over to the Sunshine Skyway fishing pier. I saw birds diving at the East beach of Fort De Soto. Birds diving is the best sign of good bait. I started to drift where the birds were diving and the baits were definitely there in good numbers. I saw a few big redfish spook as I was drifting. My goal was to make it to the Sunshine Skyway north pier. As I was getting closer I saw a few boats throwing the cast net. I did not want to get too close but I did get close enough to see that they were also catching bait. The last place that I wanted to check was at Boca Ciega Bay. I saw a lot of glass minnows popping all over the flats. Since I was out with the family I stopped at one of my favorite flats and started to throw a DOA Cal shad tail in new penny color. My plan was to put my daughter on a trout for her to reel. She will be 3 in April and is getting pretty good reeling. We didn’t hook up but it was good practice. I drifted about four times and had no luck. The wind kept blowing us away from the spot. I know there is plenty of trout there. I told my son to put the boat in gear and I started to troll using my DOA Cal shad tail in new penny color. Within 2 minutes we hooked up. She reeled it all the way to the boat and my son nets it. The fish was probably about 12 to 13 inches. Started to troll again, and again, within 2 to 3 minutes the drag started to scream. She started to reel and she finally caught a 16 inch trout. Her first keeper trout. We were all excited for her. I told her that we were done and were going back home. She did not want to leave and wanted to keep fishing. We had a successful day on the water scouting for bait and having my daughter catch her first keeper trout.

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