A warming trend has made a big difference in the fishing in northern Pinellas. Afternoon high tides this past week helped to usher in some warmer water that has spurred on a sunset bite that rivaled those in years past.
Both redfish and gator trout have both been waiting for it to warm up a bit for an opportunity to feed. Targeting mullet schools at the later part of the incoming tide all the way through the heart of the outgoing tide this week produced good catches. Working soft plastic jerk baits through the thickest part of the mullet schools as they made their way off the flats on the late evening outgoing tide has been the pattern.
If you’re an artificial lure purist, this is your time of year. It’s simple; the fish are scattered and hungry. Drifting through schools of post-spawn mullet while fan casting weedless rigged jerk baits gives you the best chance possible at finding aggressively feeding fish.
Watching the tides, these windows of spectacular fishing will be based on good timing more than anything. Afternoon high tides in between fronts are the best fishing periods. Look for the first few days of the upcoming full moon to set the stage. These good tides usually stretch from three days prior to the moon and peak three days after the moon.
Target no-motor zone flats and many of the spoil islands that dot the Intracoastal Waterway.
Schools of mullet are a bit hard to come by out there right now but are definitely the key. The reds and trout will shadow these mullet schools waiting for food to be disrupted by their presence. Dark colored soft plastics mimic shrimp and crabs perfectly and up current casts will fool quality fish more often than others.
Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.