Fall is in full swing and for us that means cooler weather and water temperatures. Water temperatures will start to fall as our days get shorter and we start seeing some mild cold fronts move through. The bait has made its ways into our region and all over the bay. Mackerel, king and spanish, should make a nice showing. Snook will be on the move preparing for winter. Redfish should continue to be active in our region and the trusty ole trout will be there to save a slow day.
We had a decent showing of some schools on the Southshore last month. Hopefully they will stay around this month. If you are having a hard time finding schooling fish, go back to the basics. Find the mullet and you’ll find redfish. Live white bait has been the bait of choice. The key is to have plenty of bait to chum. I have been fishing a 24” 25lb Trilene fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Daiichi circle hook under a cork. They will also be willing to eat most cut baits. Pinfish, threadfins, mullet and lady fish are all good choices.
Trout fishing in our region has been phenomenal and will continue as temperatures drop. Most all grass flats with bait and tidal flow will hold trout. The key is to move around. These fish move every day and you have to move around to find them. Live white bait fished under a cork will do the trick for the live baiters. Shrimp will also work, but you will have to fight with the pinfish. Trout are easily fooled, so artificial bait is a good alternative. A good bait for beginners is a Berkley Gulp! shrimp fished under a popping cork. Get an 18″ Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon leader, 1/8 ounce jig head, and a cork. Just cast out, pop the cork every couple of seconds, and continue until you get a bite.
The spanish mackerel started to show up in our region late last month and should only get better. Areas around the Skyway and the main ship channel will hold both spanish and king mackerel. A chum block and plenty of live bait to chum with will draw attention from both species. For spainsh, long shank hook and 40lb Berkley Trilene leader should work. If you are getting a lot of cut offs, switch to light steel leader. For the king mackerel, steel leader is almost a must. A 30-40 lb steel leader will work. If you are running into a lot of short strikes, add a stinger rig.
Best of the Rest
We shouldn’t forget about Mr. Snook. Although it will be catch-and-release only, you can still have a good time. Look for snook to be making the move to the flats. Most flats in the south part of our region should hold fish. They will be fattening up for the winter and will be willing to take most baits. Areas with good tidal flow and bait will hold fish. Remember every fish out there is important to the rebuild of the stock so handle each one like it’s the last. If you are looking to just bend rods, look for the pods of glass minnow (bay anchovies) and you will find some bonita. Just toss a live white bait in the middle and hang on.