Now is the perfect time to get out and chase some fish! The weather is awesome, the water is clear and cool and the fish are moving.
Redfish are cruising the shallows during periods of low water. Be on the lookout for wakes they create as they swim, tails emerging from the water as they root around on the bottom looking for food or, since the water is so clear, you can also spot them as they swim. I like using small, soft plastic imitations of baitfish or shrimp and prefer to wait until I actually see fish before presenting the lure.
There are times when I make spot casts to certain features such as deep potholes, drop offs or patches of flooded reeds, but for the most part I like to throw directly at redfish. You can learn a lot about a fish by watching how it reacts to the introduction of your lure. Since redfish inhabit a wide variety of ecosystems, you can also find them schooled up on deeper docks, drop offs near shallow points, in creek mouths and around big structures like bridges and jetties.
Speckled trout are still scattered across the grass flats and have been quite active lately. As cold fronts push through, these fish will start making their way back into their typical late fall/winter haunts – muddy bayous and deep sandy holes throughout the bay. They can get concentrated in these areas and you might get covered up by small fish but worry not because there are big fish out there awaiting the patient angler who is determined to catch a trophy. Keep making small adjustments in bait, lure size or presentation until you find what sparks the interest of the bigger fish. Plugs, twitch baits and soft plastics are all extremely effective on specks.
Over the past few months, I’ve seen an abundance of inshore, shallow water red snappers throughout the bays. Since the season will be open on weekends this month, I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to chase them. While most of my catches have come in water 20-35 feet deep, I have caught legal red snapper as shallow as 14 feet over a variety of different structures. Old bridge rubble, sunken boats, rock piles, submerged pipelines and lots of other structures have held really good fish.
Most legal fish are going to be between 16-20 inches in length; however, I’ve landed snappers up to 30 inches and over 10 pounds. These fish can be tough to land since they’re usually holding tight to structure so it’s important to get a good jump on them at the initial strike. I prefer 30 pound medium-action spinning outfits with 30 pound leaders and 6/0 circle hooks, either flat-lined or rigged with a lead weight as light as the current will allow. Cut cigar minnows, squid heads and big live shrimp are all good choices but you can catch them on soft plastics or hair jigs as well.
Along the beaches, expect to find Spanish mackerel, pompano, redfish, drum and flounder as the water continues to cool, although many of those species will soon vacate the area in search of warmer waters. Just about everything that swims along the beaches can be caught on a jig of some kind, but soaking live baits is also productive.
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!