The fall fishing season is off to a great start, so let’s take a look at where you can find the hot bites.
Local anglers list the flounder as one of their favorites. So far, it has been a fantastic bite and they are stacked up big time! If you’re hoping to catch good numbers on rod and reel, try deeper parts of the bays and inlets with good water flow and structure. Those spots have consistently provided limits of good fish in the 2-4 pound range – with some fish topping 7 pounds. Heavy jigs will get it done when they are really active and the current will allow the bait to get to the bottom. During heavy tide flow or when the fish are on the finicky side, a drop shot rig with a 3-4 ounce lead and 4” finger mullet has been hard to beat, especially on the bigger fish. As the fish are moving, many anglers have been gigging good numbers in the shallows along the beaches.
The redfish bite has been just about as good, with lots of fish throughout the bays, flats, and outside the inlets along the beaches. Fish the early, low light periods of the day in shallow water for good topwater action, especially when you get near schools of pilchards or mullet. Many lures work well, but I have been having great success on small skitter walks in bone color. As the day goes on and visibility improves, find yourself a nice broken bottom flat with clear water and you’re sure to spot some cruisers that will take a jig. Most of the fish being caught on the flats are between 4-6 pounds, but some 10 pounders have been caught, too. In general, the bigger fish prefer to be in deeper water with good tidal flow.
The bridges and pass are good areas to look for those big bull reds, but they can also be holding on the bottom on submerged structures throughout the bay as well as running in schools up and down the beaches.
On the flats, the trout bite has really started to pick up and lots of slot fish are schooling up in the shallows near pilchard and mullet schools. Look for these fish to move up onto shallow point flats on big tides as the water starts falling. The trout will set up facing into the current to wait on food to come to them. The best way to approach these fish with artificial lures is from the down current side, casting up current at an angle. This will allow the bait to be presented the same way that all the other food is coming – making it a far more natural feeding situation. It also prevents you from having to worry about drifting on top of the fish since you are already down current from them. If you are going to use live bait, you can anchor up current and feed your bait back in the current.
Although I have not personally been out there trying to catch them, I have reports from reputable sources that the pompano are making their way down the beaches and limits are being caught in the surf. There are several good ways to catch them, including live and dead shrimp, sand fleas, and small crabs. They are also good targets for sight fishing along the beaches with small heavy jigs as they run in schools and are usually pretty aggressive.