As we get deeper into fall and the cold fronts become more frequent, it’s time to adapt our fishing techniques to rapidly changing conditions.
Pre-front conditions are generally warmer and overcast with increasing wind speeds from a southerly or southeasterly direction. During this period, the barometric pressure begins to fall and the fish will, in most cases, become very aggressive and feed heavily until the front passes. It’s a great time to use topwater or suspending plugs that allow you to cover lots of water. I like to find spots where the wind is blowing at an angle towards the bank because it usually makes the fish stack up along the shoreline.
Fishing behind a front can be a little more difficult because the fish don’t necessarily want to eat. On the other hand, blue skies usually roll in after a front and that means we get a lot of sight fishing opportunities.
We are enjoying some really good fishing right now – especially on the flats where the pilchards have taken up residence. In the far reaches of the bay, the pilchards are large and hanging out above shallow grass right up along the shoreline. Speckled trout, redfish, mangrove snapper, jacks, ladyfish and flounder have been getting fat by feeding on them. When targeting these fish, I start by fan casting topwater plugs near baitfish in an effort to pick off any aggressive fish willing to chase a lure, then switch to a slow suspending plug that I can twitch and let sit still for a second or two. That little pause is when the plug tends to get choked and it will also allow you to keep the lure in the strike zone for an extended period of time. Flashy silver-colored baits with green, chartreuse or black backs have been the best colors, but white also tends to work well.
In areas of the bay closer to the pass, a good number of pompano are cruising shallow sand flats near where the bottom drops off into deeper water. I’ve also been catching them in deep potholes in grass flats and out on shallow sandy shoals in the middle of the bay. Try using soft plastic jigs, hair jigs, pompano jigs, sand fleas and shrimp (live or dead) to entice them to eat.
The Spanish mackerel are nowhere near as thick as they were in the bay, but the ones I have been catching have been big – usually coming in at five pounds or more. If that’s your target, use spoons or small shiny lures that you can work at a high rate of speed and be sure to tie on a short piece of light wire or 40 pound fluorocarbon leader to help with abrasion from their teeth.
As always, if you have any questions about what’s biting or how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email.