Recent changes in air and water temperatures have prompted many species to stack up in schools and gorge themselves while the food is still plentiful. In many places, the pinfish are in big schools floating on the surface and, if you look closely, there are lots of speckled trout and redfish hanging out underneath them. This is when suspending twitch baits really start to shine. If you are sight fishing, jigs are still equally as productive but, as a general rule, plugs have been better when blind casting areas in search of fish.
Deep in the bays, the speckled trout bite has been great on thick grass flats with a fair amount of potholes or broken bottom. Most of the fish have been in schools sitting in the sand; however, if schools of bait are present you may find the fish cruising back and forth and sticking close to them. The fish are very aggressive, so topwater baits early are sure to attract some quality bites. The water level has been low in the mornings so you might want to move out near the outside of the flat and fish around the outer edges of the grass.
Redfish are also schooling, but the schools are distributed throughout the bay systems pretty much from the Intracoastal Waterway all the way out to the pass and along the beaches. I have been catching lots of them while cruising down the shoreline on the trolling motor and picking them off as I see them swimming or laid up in the sand. There are also a lot of fish laid up in deeper water off of points or drop offs and under schools of baitfish out in the middle of the bay. I mostly use a variety of soft plastic baits but buck tail jigs, plugs and other artificial lures also work well. You can usually mark the fish on your bottom machine when they are in deeper water prior to fishing for them, but if you see a lot of action on the surface it may be a good idea to spend a little time blind casting the area.
Pompano have also been showing up a good bit more – cruising down sand and grass flats in areas with very clear water near the pass. On incoming tides when the water is coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, you will see the pompano push farther into the bays. The majority of them have been in small schools of 5-10 fish but some of those fish have been in the five pound plus range. Small compact jigs, live or dead shrimp and sand fleas are all great baits to get them to eat.
As always, if you have questions about what’s biting, how to catch them or want to book a trip, give me a call or shoot me an email.