After a brief drop in the water temperature early last week our inshore waters once again are pushing 80 degrees. The rise in the temperatures will undoubtedly slow the bite on the shallow flats. Anglers looking to target the coveted big three (redfish, trout and snook) should now begin to focus their attention on deeper areas that offer a stronger current flow.
Jetty rocks are among the more obvious choices fitting the description, but sand points near the passes will often have a deep curve nearby that will offer a staging area for all three species. Also, check rocky areas around bridges.
Most of these spots will fish better on one tide or another, but typically the prime spot will be a small bend on the up-current side of the point.
Jetty fishing often gets good this time of year. A versatile angler can hope to hook into trout, redfish, snook, pompano, flounder, small grouper; you get the picture. These spots attract fish as well as fishermen. Hitting these spots early will give you the best chance for consistent hook-ups. Standard practice would be to start out free-lining live pilchards right against the rocks.
Depending on how that’s going it’s always a good idea to have at least one person fishing closer to the bottom and just away from the rocks. Typically this can be achieved by adding a small split-shot to the leader.
Keeping a heavier rod out the back with larger bait will give you a shot at hooking a tarpon or some other big predator.
Kingfish are still in the area and with projected light winds over the weekend it should be a good opportunity to get in some late season kingfishing before the water gets too warm and sends the fish to the north. Depths of 40 to 50 feet have been consistent for good numbers of kings ranging in size from 10 to 20 pounds. Slow trolling live blue runners around bait pods has been the key.
Those wanting to target red grouper can expect to find a few fish in this same depth, but will most likely do better a little further out in 80 to 100 foot.
Until next week – get bent!
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.