It's been around a month since we've been able to wet a line in the Big Bend, but that will change this weekend. The weather is warming some and we're excited to fish again.
The water temperature probably hasn't warmed enough for the trout to scatter on the flats completely, but we're slowly getting there. The fish are still huddled around the mouths of the creeks for the most part, with some venturing on the flats to feed. When the water is cold, trout will gather in creek holes to preserve warmth and energy. But when the water warms, they'll move to the grass and other structure on the flats to feed.
Because the fish are still close to the "hill," tides are going to be very important when fishing this time of year. Unless you've got an airboat, you probably won't be able to get close to the grass line at low tide. Aim to fish the rising tide if possible, which gives you about a 3 hour window of good fishing. The bite will generally slow significantly or stop when the water becomes still at high tide.
You shouldn't need to use different techniques to catch trout vs redfish. Because the trout are still gathered near the grass line, they should be in the same location as the reds this time of year. That will change a little as the water warms and the trout scatter more.
As far as baits go, this is prime time to use artificial lures. Suspended plugs and soft plastics will be your best bet. The pinfish aren't back on the flats yet and shrimp can be hit or miss this time of year. Just be prepared to change your retrieve strategy on the plugs as the water depth changes. If the grass is high, you may have to rip them through the water faster to keep the grass off your lure.
This fishing report is brought to you by Captain Jason Witherspoon of Spoon Fed Charters in Keaton Beach, Florida.