If inshore fishing is your thing, then now is the time to get on the water and take advantage of the fantastic bites happening right now. Fish are gathering in schools and wreaking havoc on just about any bait they see!
On the grass flats, the speckled trout bite is especially good. Early morning topwater baits are producing nice numbers of slot fish with a few bigger fish mixed in. The hot bite has come during low tide on large, slightly deep potholes, troughs and the outside edges of the grass flats with soft plastics. Several of the holes we fished this week yielded more than 50 fish in as many casts!
When fishing these areas, look for cruising or laid up redfish on the low, post-front tides brought on by strong northerly winds. In clear water near the gulf, keep an eye out for pompano as well (I’ve seen plenty of them while targeting other species). Deeper in the bay, closer to the Intracoastal Waterway, the redfishing is also getting pretty good. When you start to lose the grass and everything turns to long sand flats, the fish tend to stay closer to the shoreline where reeds offer plenty of feeding opportunities and places to take cover. Topwaters, soft plastic jigs, and weedless spoons are all very productive in these situations.
Flounder are on the move, too. While sight fishing the other day, I saw a couple dozen flounder either laying on the bottom at the edges of grass or spooking off as I got close. They are one of the few inshore fish that I will throw in the box and take home for dinner, so I’ll definitely be out catching them over the next few days. My favorite tactic is throwing soft plastic jigs in sandy potholes, edges and drop-offs. As flounder move off the flats toward deep, swift moving waters of the inlets, I’ll switch to a live bait setup like a Carolina rig or drop shot rig. The best live baits are finger mullet, bull minnows and pilchards.
While most inshore fish are great table fare, that doesn’t mean you have to harvest them all. It’s perfectly fine to take a few home for dinner but let’s ensure that future generations of anglers get to enjoy the great fishing opportunities that we are so blessed to have today.
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.