Happy fall pattern! It’s the time of the year when the heat finally starts to give way to cool morning breezes and the fish chew all day long.
Despite heavy rainfall over the past few months, the fishing has been fantastic. The water in most parts of the bay is quite dirty but the trout and redfish have been thick and willing to eat all sorts of artificial lures. Of course, topwater lures are always a fan favorite and 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 along the shoreline and in flooded reed beds, tidal creeks and throughout the shallows. As the tide drops out I begin looking for redfish in holes on the flats as well as docks and other medium-depth structures.
Big speckled trout can often be found in the same environment as redfish and can be caught using similar tactics. Most of the trout I’ve been catching have been on broken bottom or grass flats in about 2-4 feet of water using jigs and shrimp patterns. Depressions carved out from current running over points is another great spot to look for schools of trout stacking up. Keep in mind that trout usually hang out in small groups so, if you catch one, there are likely more in the area.
The flats are not the only place to find a great bite right now. In open water throughout the bays, Spanish mackerel are demolishing baitfish schools. To find them, simply cruise around looking for dive bombing birds or fish breaching the surface. If this doesn’t work, you can always troll around a little using your electronics to locate schools of fish that are down deep. Spanish mackerel will eat a variety of small, shiny, erratic action baits such as spoons, plugs and small trolling setups.
There’s are a variety of different species of fish that you can catch on structure in the bays right now. 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 instance, if you pass through an area while fishing a jig or a live minnow, then you probably won’t catch 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 running along the shore in the surf as temperatures cool off. Walking the beach with a jig is a good way to get some exercise and catch dinner at the same time. Or, you can set up a chair, chunk out a couple of rods rigged with sand fleas, drink a cold one and wait for the pompano to swim by. Both tactics are effective and enjoyable.
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. Tight lines!