With a small cold front and a ton of rain behind us, the gradual transition into fall continues. Last weekend’s beautiful weather was perfect for fishing either inshore or offshore. The water clarity was excellent by Saturday and the beaches were again full of life. Schools of small Spanish mackerel can be seen driving baitfish to the surface, a sight that was sure to get you exited about fishing. We live in such a fishy area.
Inshore fishing slowed down a bit last week most likely due to all the rain. Too much fresh water in that short of a time period will disrupt the bait patterns and in turn the predators. By the weekend it showed good signs of improvement. Redfish remain top targets. With slightly cooler water temperatures this week look for the fish to push up onto the flats as the shadow mullet schools. These fish should be plenty hungry and willing to track down a top-water plug or a gold spoon.
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 editorial@TBNweekly.com or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.