If you're on the hunt for trout, you're not going to be finding much in the mangroves, creeks, or any of the eastern regions that I've been preaching about over the last few weeks. That water is warming up, and the trout are moving out towards the coast. You're going to want to be targeting Crystal River's bars - like out in front of Fort Island Trail Beach and Black Point areas.
I've gotten a considerable outreach from artificial anglers that follow along with my blogs looking for recommendations on different methods I use when it comes to a cork.
I feel like a lot of anglers will sleep on the trusty popping cork. Still, I promise you that thing is like an alarm clock for trout, which will not lead you wrong.
Judging on your depth, you're going to want to keep your cork 8 inches to a foot off the bottom tied up with a 20lb test of your choice of monofilament or fluorocarbon. Size doesn't matter when it comes to your jig head - know if it ain't pink, it ain't worth a stink! Get a live shrimp and hook it on the jig and call it a day.
Once the pinfish start to get plentiful in your area, you're going to want to ditch the jig head under that popping cork and tie on a J Hook or a simple bait hook. Toss the line and let it float - don't be too eager to set the hook as soon as you see your cork go down. Just be sure to give it two or three seconds at the minimum, and then you can set that hook. It's so important to wait those two or three seconds because typically, the pinfish is a little bit bigger of a bait, and you have to allow the trout a reasonable amount of time to eat so you can set the hook and land the fish with success.