With another small cold front behind us, the gradual transition into fall continues.
Last weekendís beautiful weather was perfect for fishing either inshore or offshore. The water clarity was excellent by Friday and the beaches were again full of life.
Acres of small Spanish mackerel can be seen driving baitfish to the surface, a sight that is sure to get you excited about fishing. We live in such a fishy area.
Water clarity is one of the top three key elements to fishing Ė the other two being temperature and tide. More and more I notice that productive fishing sessions rely mainly on water clarity. Outside of a couple of days out of the week itís often a drive until you find clear water.
Based mainly out of the Clearwater area, Iím not sure how much the dredge work both inshore and off the beach has to do with this; also thereís no question this summer has been abnormal with a dominating west wind pattern. Whatever the cause, thereís no question that fish prefer and feed much better in cleaner water.
Offshore fishing was very good this past weekend.
Gag and red grouper are abundant on hard bottom ledges in 60 to 80 feet. Standard tactics of firing up the bottom with frozen sardines or herring then switching to frisky pinfish and grunts worked very well.
One of our keys to success lately has been the willingness to move as soon as the bite slows. In these shallower depths a move of a couple hundred feet can yield more fish.
Near-shore fishing is absolutely on the verge of breaking loose, and who knows with the overnight temps in the low 70s all week, this might be a good weekend to break out the stinger rigs and do some slow trolling in close.
Small Spanish mackerel, a favorite food of kingfish, dominate our near shore waters.
Slow trolling legal sized mackerel around the schools of bait is an exciting way to fish. Many times the kingfish will skyrocket many feet into the air when they strike a slow trolled mackerel. Other good baits would include mullet, blue runners, ladyfish and shad.
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 email@example.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.