by CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
SCOUTING: The best way to locate fish for a future trip is to go scouting. Snook, redfish, sheephead and trout are continually moving. Taking the time to look for fish without fishing is time well spent. Normally this is a two-person trip -- one to drive the boat and the other to scout the waters for fish. Going solo increases your chance of hitting a pole or dock while trying to spot fish and drive the boat at the same time.
Snook and reds can be found in potholes outside rivers, creeks and sunning in the shallows of residential canals. While holding a rope attached to the front cleat, have the boat driver idle past potholes while you look for dark shadows on the edge of the holes. When you find spots that are holding fish, mark that area on a map or bottom machine. This will make it easy to return to the right areas later.
Sheephead can be found around the pilings of bridges and docks. Target these spots during the end of a tide and through the start of the next tide. Drift or idle as close to the pilings as possible while looking for sheephead hanging next to the pilings. Due to the resent drop in water temperatures, target areas south of the Gandy Bridge. Large schools should be moving toward the beach to spawn.
One important thing to remember when scouting is to not do this where others are fishing. You will spook fish when scouting. So look for areas that are clear of other anglers. Chances are there're fish where others are fishing and those spots don't need to be scouted.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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