Cool Weather Coming in!

A pattern of high winds out the northeast has kept most anglers inshore this week. That trend continues through the weekend, although decreasing a bit. Prior to the wind, mackerel fishing had exploded on the nearby reefs and hard bottoms just a couple of miles offshore. Reports of kingfish biting in close were common too. Scores of bait schools have been getting pounded by pelicans, making the bait easy to get a cast net on. Occasionally the bait has been scarce, requiring a lot of driving the shorelines, eventually finding it with a bottom machine or diving birds. Winds lay down in the early morning hours allowing a short window to approach the nearshore fishing. Chumming for few minutes will bring the fish to you. Longshank hooks are a must to prevent break offs. Be ready to head in as soon as the winds pick up. The snook are still inhabiting the inside cuts along the passes, yet several small snook are foraging along the eastern mainshore in north Pinellas county. They are chasing the smaller sardines and glass minnows that have made their way onto the protection of the shallower flats. Redfish are being caught around the rocky structures and also the cuts near the beaches as well. Cut baits laid on the bottom will attract these bottom feeders. Small baits pinned to the bottom around the rocks will also get mangrove snapper, sheepshead and trout in the area.

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.