Onshore winds and continuous storms had our near-shore waters pretty dirtied up last week. But east winds have returned and water is clearing up nicely.
Calm seas and clean water will have the bait pushed up right against the beach, attracting schools of mackerel, bluefish, cobia and a few other less glamorous, but great rod-bending species. This is not the time of year to be real picky about target species. It’s hot and downright uncomfortable much past 10 a.m. Beach fishing can provide good action as well as often being slightly cooler than the inshore more protected waters.
Small schools of Spanish mackerel can be seen busting schools of glass minnows just outside the swim buoys all along the beach. Most of the mackerel are on the small side, but there are plenty of fish in the 18- to 24-inch class. Cast chrome plated Gotcha plugs or free-line live pilchards or shrimp on 2/0 long shank hook. Along with mackerel we’ve been catching loads of small jack crevalle and ladyfish and a few bluefish. All of these fish are very kid friendly and there’s nothing more rewarding in our sport than to see kids get excited about fishing.
Redfish numbers are increasing after each big moon phase. More and more reds can be targeted on the shallow grass flats throughout the county. This week’s new moon incoming tides will have the schools of redfish hanging near mangrove shoreline points as they await the flood stage of the tide that will allow them to push way back into the mangrove root system, where they can feed as well as cool off. Approach each point with ease and caution; redfish will often give you some sort of sign. Usually it will be a flash or a noticeable push of water. Work the schools with top-water plugs, gold spoons and soft plastic jigs on an 8-ounce head. Small Live pinfish under a cork will rarely be refused especially if you’re casting to a school of fish.
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.