With Hurricane Michael still fresh on our minds, it's important to be aware of the storm’s effect on our bay system. Debris is seemingly everywhere and that includes the waterways. Sunken boats, downed trees, broken docks, new sand bars and other hazards are just under the water's surface. If you find a hazard, make it known to others and you just might prevent accidents and injuries.
Despite the obvious changes in the bays’ appearance, the fishing is actually going to be really good over the next couple of weeks. Cooler temperatures are making fish frisky and there has been a lot of mullet and redfish action on the flats. The lower tides provide the perfect opportunity to get on the push pole and look for tailing redfish. Shallow water redfish can be finicky at times but a little patience and stealth should get you plenty of quality shots. If you figure out what they are doing, you can deploy a shallow water anchor and let the fish come to you. Lightly weighted or flatlined soft plastic jerkbaits and swimbaits are ideal for spot casting to redfish.
While on the flats, be sure to keep an eye out for big, mature speckled trout cruising around. Right now, they are transitioning from shallow water flats to backwater creeks and bayous and, when they’re on the move, they’re usually willing to eat. Trout won’t actually make it all the way to the backwater until the weather gets much colder, but they begin staging near them during this time of the year. Be on the lookout for finger mullet getting busted right up near the shore-line. Big trout tend to be solitary fish but will sometimes join small schools and make a very distinctive sound when feeding on surface baits. Small topwaters are very good for big trout due in part to their curious nature, but I also catch a bunch of them on suspending plugs and soft plastic baits.
The bay grouper bite is heating up right now. The hurricane’s storm surge pushed a lot of water and fish into the bay. Using my side scan sonar, I’ll locate structures and fish and then troll by them with a big plug or drift over them with a heavy swim bait. Don’t forget to use appropriate tackle for fish that are going to head for structure once hooked – 40 pound braided line, heavy fluorocarbon leader and a stout rod are must-haves. Most of the fish will be 20”-22” in length but there are more than enough 24”-30” fish out there to keep a few for the cooker.
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.