Even though on the calendar summers end is drawing near, temperatures in Florida will remain in the mid-80s and low 90s for quite a while. And, although reports of deadly red tide outbreaks have been reported in South Pinellas, Clearwater Beach and to the North remain clear and hopefully will stay that way.  Either way, fish know that it’s time to start migrating back towards their transitional locations for fall. Snook are still hanging around the beaches. Not in numbers they were but still a dependable bite if you can find them. The male fish tend to hang around a lot longer than the females especially after they have laid there eggs. Trout are also very plentiful along the beach but more reliable on the grass flats inside of the passes. Sardines are my favorite date of choice when targeting both snook and trout, but each species will also eat small pinfish. Redfish are starting to show up a little better especially around the higher tides. It may take some effort, but once they are found, cut Baits placed in the potholes adjacent to the mangroves has worked really well. Normally I advocate fishing in the bushes skipping Baits as deep as you can. But for some reason in my area redfish are schooling on the outside more commonly. Not a lot of upper slot fish but more of the smaller to mid slot fish have been working the sand holes and chasing pinfish. On the weaker moon phases I’ve been focusing on near shore species. Mackerel have been attacking bait schools within 1 to 2 miles of shore, especially near all of the passes in North Pinellas. Again, greenbacks are the better choice but throwing silver spoons has always been a go to bait for those not able to catch live bait and store it in the boat. From now through the fall mackerel will be a pretty reliable source of action.

Adjusting for the Heat!

The fishing has been steady in North Pinellas County. Low midday tides are very warm, causing most fish to be lethargic, searching for a drop off or edge of the flat to avoid the hot water. Redfishing has been tougher this week. There are still plenty of snook around the beaches, but in late summer, spawning has occurred and the fish are not eating as often. The smaller male fish are more likely to eat while the females are concentrating on fertilizing and laying their eggs. Last week I had the pleasure to participate once again in a Kids Fish Camp. We fished for snook and redfish for a little while but eventually turned our focus to trout and mangrove snapper. We even fished around the bridge pilings catching grunts, snapper, flounder and a few other species running under the bridges. Sometimes you have to be prepared to change gears when the weather is an issue or the fish in your favorite spot just aren’t biting. Summer storms are very common in July so the ability to look at a radar on a smart phone is extremely convenient and very valuable when you need to see how close storms are to your location. It can definitely affect your game plan for the day. Whether to run south towards a jetty to snook fish, move north to work a trout flat, or to head back to the marina to allow a possible thunderstorm with lightning to pass before continuing.

Snook, Snook, Snook!

Welcome to the Clearwater Fishing Charter report from Capt. Brian Caudill. Warm weather has stabilized the water temps, sending many fish into their normal pattern of migration in North Pinellas. Every year, large female snook start to trickle out to the west along the beaches, a few yards from unsuspecting sun bathers. Snook had been staging along the spoil islands in St. Joseph Sound and on the inside points of the barrier islands. The next couple of weeks leading up to the new moon, snook should be well on their way to occupying the swashes, troughs and even the rock jetties near the beaches, preparing for the spawn season. Trout also follow a similar migration pattern, often lurking in the same areas as snook. The small bays and grass flats near the passes tend to hold the highest numbers of smaller trout, while the large female fish move to the beach with a few male trout, also looking to spawn through summer. Redfish were schooling and invading the mangrove shorelines prior to the recent full moon but have begun to diminish a bit. They are still eating on the higher tides but aren’t as concentrated, which is typical between the stronger moon phases. A few tarpon have been spotted moving across the sandbars around Clearwater and the north passes. The numbers will increase over the next two week as warm weather continues to encourage their migration to the north. Large threadfin herring are plentiful as bait, as well as sardines and pinfish. Crabs are well known as the favorite bait for tarpon, flushing out of the bays during strong falling tides.