Adapting to west winds, threatening rain and extremely hot weather left few options for fishing this past weekend.
Fortunately, catching plenty of live bait for the day is becoming easier with each passing week. Juvenile pilchards are now just the right size for targeting trout and Spanish mackerel, which appear to be lurking around almost every deep grass flat with good current flow along the Intracoastal Waterway.
With the water temperature in the extreme shallows reaching 90 degrees in the afternoon, redfishing has been pretty tough at times. Making deep, clean grass flats the obvious choice for finding fast enough action to make you forget about just how hot it is, at least until lunchtime.
Paying attention to a few signs will pay off when looking for these potential hot spots. Clean water is most likely the most important. Find that area of deep grass that you can easily make out the many sand spots that make perfect ambush spots for predatory fish. Then, having good current flow at these spots will help to stack the bait up around the sand edges, and in turn attract the schools of mackerel. And the bonus sign would be the presence of birds diving and skimming the surface as they take advantage of the possible feeding frenzy taking place beneath the surface.
If you plan on fishing with artifices, your best bet would be to drift when the winds are light. Fan cast with buck tail jigs, small spoons or sub-surface twitch baits. Live baiters will do well with live pilchards fished under a float when the tides is light and then free-lined when the current starts to pick up. If you’re looking for live bait (i.e. pilchards), target the swash channel along the beach when winds are out of the east and sand shoals around the passes when it’s too rough on the beach.
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.