This is such a magical time of the year to be out on the water boating and fishing! Mild temperatures keep the days comfortable and it’s still warm enough to be out before and after sunset. The best bites usually come early in the morning or late in the afternoon, but fish have been very active during the middle of the day when the water is moving.

       Inshore on the flats, schools of redfish can be found cruising near the shorelines and mixed in along flooded reed beds and shallow sandbars. In the early hours of the morning or when the tide is high, topwater plugs have been very effective – especially when fished around mullet of a similar size. Once the sun gets up a little, the sight fishing is fantastic. The water clarity is getting better but it’s still a bit tannic deeper in the bays. Light leaders and small subtle baits can be the difference between rejection and success. Take your time and don’t get discouraged because the fish will eventually cooperate.

       I’ve seen decent numbers of quality speckled trout moving around the flats. These fish don’t stay in the same places for very long so they might be there one day and gone the next. Pay attention to the direction they are moving so that you can predict where they are headed. Shrimp patterns spark the best action although topwater baits and suspending plugs attract the biggest fish.

       Spanish mackerel are still being targeted by anglers looking for some fast-paced action. The most effective way to catch them is to troll around where fish and birds are working the surface and cast spoons, plugs or jigs into the area. Spanish mackerel have razor sharp teeth, so it’s a good idea to use heavier monofilament or light wire leaders to prevent cut-offs.

       Mangrove snappers have shown up in good numbers around shallow inshore structures as well as vertical structures like docks and bridge pilings. I sometimes catch them on small lipped jerk baits but most of my success has been with live baits or fresh cut baits. Shrimp, pilchards, menhaden, small pinfish and fresh cut cigar minnows all work very well. Light tackle, a small hook and a little patience will go a long way toward getting yourself a cooler full of fish for dinner.

       The big bull redfish have been getting much more active around the bridges and in the inlets. Crabs floated on the surface in the tide or big pinfish on the bottom have been working exceptionally well. You can also target the fish blowing up on the surface by throwing big topwater baits or soft plastics jerk baits. Remember, all of these bull reds are over the slot limit and must be released, so take good of care of them and keep the survival rates high.

       If you have questions about what's biting, how to catch them or would like to book a trip of your own, then give me a call or shoot me an email. Tight lines!