After a summer of record high temperatures, the fall pattern is finally here. It’s that time of the year when the heat finally starts to give way to cool morning breezes. Best of all, the fish seem to chew all day long!
Topwater lures are an angler’s favorite because, let’s face it… who doesn't get turned on by redfish chasing down a plug or explosive speckled trout surface strikes? Just the thought of it makes me want to hit the water right now! On high tides, look for redfish to be laying up or cruising right along the shoreline and in flooded reed beds, tidal creeks and throughout the shallows. As the tide drops out, begin looking for redfish in holes on the flats as well as around docks and other medium depth structures.
Some of the bigger speckled trout are often found in the same environments as redfish and can be caught using similar tactics. The bulk of the trout I’ve been catching have been on jigs and shrimp patterns over broken bottom or grass flats in about 2-4 feet of water. Depressions carved out by the current running over points are great spots to look for schools of trout stacking up. Keep in mind that specks usually travel in groups so if you catch one there are likely more around.
The flats are not the only place to find a great bite right now. In open water throughout the bay, schools of Spanish mackerel are hammering bait fish schools. It’s fairly easy to find them – go to where you see birds dive bombing the bait balls or look for fish breaching the surface. If you can't find them visually, then troll around using your electronics and locate schools of fish that are down deep. Spanish mackerel will eat a variety of small, shiny, erratic baits such as spoons, plugs and small trolling setups.
A wide variety of species can be caught on structures around the bay these days. Monster mangrove snappers, redfish, sheepshead, black drum, flounder… the list goes on. When and how you fish a particular structure will determine how many of those species you actually catch. For example, fishing a jig or live minnow probably won’t entice a strike from a sheepshead or black drum but if you toss a live shrimp into the mix then you could get a bite from any fish in that group.
Along the beaches, look for pompano to start crusing along the shore in the surf as the temperatures cool. Walk the beach with a jig or set out some rods rigged with sand fleas and wait for the pompano to swim by.
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!