Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey and Clearwater flats fishing guide, Capt. Rich Knox reports flats fishing charters have taken off for many species now that the first school’s of migratory bait fish (pilchards) have begun to show up. “Sardines” or “Greenback’s’ as they are commonly called attract the attention of big Snook, Redfish, Spotted Sea trout and more, after a winter of chasing shrimp and pinfish, the fish have begun to change there diet’s to the these sometimes hard to find and catch bait-fish, a good 10′ cast net is needed to capture these baitfish, morning usually being the best time. watch for pelican’s and tern’s dipping and diving on grass flats near a pass by the barrier island’s or estuary system on the main shore line inshore grass flats. When the water temperatures are above 68* F you can sometimes chum them to the boat and wait till there balled up in your tasty mixture of canned jack mackerel, tropical fish food and steamed rolled oats mixed with sea water into a paste and slowly distributed with the tide till the Greenies find your slick and the food they love ! we normally catch between 100 and 800 bait’s depending on the availability and time it takes, every day seems to be different, they also move around due to pressure. Once you have your live well full of these sought after bait-fish start your day working the tides in and around the flats depending on height of the water, also fishing some structure oriented areas is very productive. Snook fishing is red hot right now on the good tide day’s as they haven’t seen these pilchards there favorite bait here on the West Central gulf coast for 3-4 months. Red-fishing is very good although sometimes select shrimp are still the best bait, with the slowly warming water temperature, and Trout fishing is excellent for the biggest trout (gator trout) looking for newly arriving school’s of pilchards !