Cooling Waters Brings Action!!

   The water has cooled slightly due to rain and cloud cover in the North Pinellas area. Bait has been plentiful, filling the well with only a few casts of the net on our Clearwater Fishing Charters. The cooler water has stimulated the flats, giving anglers a variety of species to target. Trout have been extremely cooperative. Almost every grass flat has held a fair amount of trout, mostly in the smaller range. Moving around and fishing dropoffs and edges of flats near the passes produce the larger trout. Snook are still holding around the swash channels and around structure along the beaches. Sardines have been the bait of choice, producing not only snook but occasionally large trout and even a few redfish. Higher tides are also producing high numbers of redfish along the mangroves and oyster bars. Cut pinfish and even sardines under a cork near the overhangs are a great method. The nearshore reefs are starting to see Spanish mackerel and mangrove snapper. If inshore fishing is slow due to the lack of tidal flow, we often scoot just a couple of miles offshore and work the reefs. Sharks, Spanish mackerel, snapper and even cobia are possibilities. …

Looking for Variety in the Heat!!

As usual for this time of year, inshore fishing can be slow at times. High water temps and an over abundance of freshly hatched sardines on the flats in Clearwater FL are often the reason. Lately, I’ve been netting those smaller baits with an 1/8 inch mesh cast net, then chumming some of the grass flats near the passes and catching a multitude of fish. Trout, ladyfish, small groupers, and especially mangrove snapper are all in the mix. Although the fish aren’t big trophy catches, the action is constant and after a while we can focus time on a snook or redfish. Large female snook are still around the points near the beaches, but definitely have a reduced appetite after a strong season of spawning. Smaller male snook are a little more cooperative, attacking the smaller sardines in the troughs and swash channels parallel to shore. Redfish are around but spotty in the usual places such a oyster bars and under the bushes. I have found a few schools sitting in potholes on the flats, nearer to deeper water that can be cooler as the mid day temperature rises. Creeping along until I locate a few fish, I’ll spread out a variety of baits to see which will get hit. Cut pinfish or sardines on the bottom, and live ones under a float are my first strategies. Whichever method gets hit first is usually how I will fish that area.

Getting an Early Start!!!

Summer is definitely upon us and the weather has been extremely warm by mid day. I have been starting my trips a lot earlier than normal to capitalize on the cooler water temps in the morning and beat the heat of the day. Snook fishing has been the main objective and they are biting very good in the early dawn hours. Tidal flow is also key as low tide water temps are reaching near 90 degrees in the peak sun hours. The incoming tides are producing big snook around the rock structures while outgoing tides are funneling snook into cuts near the passes, waiting for bait to be pushed to them. Grunts caught in traps along with medium sized pinfish are working well in the clear beach waters. Greenbacks are becoming harder to catch in the north Pinellas area, typical of this time of year. Redfishing has slowed a bit, especially after passing the new moon phase. There are some redfish seeking cooler waters along the same structure that tends to hold the snook and trout. Rock jetties and troughs along the beaches are the targeted areas that are producing the most fish. Hydration is so important. Drink water even when you are not thirsty. Heat related illness can sneak up on you and by then it’s often too late to catch up on fluids.