Despite some cool mornings this past weekend, inshore fishing has remained pretty good. Clean water outgoing tides have provided steady action on trout and ladyfish on many of the northern Pinellas spoil islands while higher tides brought on by the approaching full moon have allowed for extended periods of time up on the flats casting for redfish.
Morning mid-level high tides this week will have redfish, gator trout and sheepshead all cruising the flats searching for crustaceans and bait fish. Concentrating on mullet schools, we’ve had great success on redfish this week, using a combination of weedless soft plastics in darker colors and gold spoons. If the wind is blowing a little the spoon seems to be working best and use the plastics when it’s slick calm. If the winds stay light and the skies are clear, sight fishing can be excellent.
Sheepshead are all over the flats and are pretty tricky to catch when they’re that shallow. As the water continues to cool off and we get on these big moon phases, look for the sheepshead to school up around the bridges and jetties. Fresh pieces of shrimp or live fiddler crabs work great for sheepshead. Just be sure to use a small enough hook so that you stand a better chance for hook-ups.
Days with light east winds have allowed for short offshore runs into the Gulf for the tasty white grunts, sea bass and porgies. Depths of 25- to 30-feet have been most productive for the grunts and porgies and shallower ledges in 15- to 20-feet have been best for sea bass. Squid will work for all three species, but a piece of sardine or small white bait works best for the sea bass.
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.