A cool weather pattern has stirred up things on the flats recently near Clearwater, Florida. Bait is still on the beaches however wind direction plays a big role in catching it. On days that are too rough, we have been chumming on the flats to catch enough bait for fishing. It has been a mix of sardines, also called greenbacks, and threadfin herring. Threadfins tend to die much quicker in the bait well so I try to only keep the sardines if possible. However, the threadfins that die make great chum for redfish. I will often separate them into a separate bucket so I can easily load the chum slinging bat to distribute them. I have been focusing a lot of attention on the back water bays and canals during this recent cold front.
Snook have been stacking up around residential docks. There have been a lot of small male snook being caught, but occasionally larger female snook are willing to eat. I like to use 20-pound braid for my main line when fishing around structure such as dock pilings. I also use 30-pound fluorocarbon leader as long as the water isn’t really clear. I will go down to 25-pound leader in very clear water, but that runs the risk of getting chewed through by rough lips from a snook or rubbing against the pilings and breaking. Redfish are frequently caught under the same docks as snook, however they prefer a cut bait or shrimp pinned to the bottom with a split shot.
As usual for this time of year, spotted sea trout are starting to move into St. Joseph Sound. Unfortunately, they were hit pretty hard by the red tide outbreak this past summer. I am hoping their numbers will return as they have in past years. Our technique is perfect for novices and skilled anglers alike. Sometimes we’ll have a freelined sardine as bait but in the cooler months I’ll have a shrimp under a cork to entice a bite from these cooperative fish.
For those of you looking for some larger game action, kingfish and mackerel season is upon us. However, the extended warm trend we’ve had has delayed their arrival a bit. The world famous “King of the Beach” tournament is this weekend and many teams pre-fishing for Saturday’s event have had to run pretty far north and way offshore for a good bite. I expect for all of that to change once a few cold fronts start making their way through the area. There is nothing like a drag screaming kingfish on the end of the line to get your heart pumping on a cool morning charter!
I look forward to a great end of the year season with you all! If you want to get out for chance at some great fishing, please don’t hesitate to call Capt. Brian Caudill Inshore Fishing Charters at727-365-7560 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have plenty of openings right now and I can’t wait to take you fishing! Capt. Brian