The first big cold front of the season has finally ushered in the fall season and lower water temps. This has the fishing on fire.
The inshore and near shore bite is in full swing. Reds, snook, trout, flounder, snapper, and sheephead are best bets inshore and snapper, grouper, mackerel, and kingfish near shore and on the reefs in the bay.
It's possible to have a shot at all of the species on one full day trip.
The low tides in the mornings are a perfect time to target the inshore bite as the fish will be stacked up in the deeper potholes and channels surrounding the flats.
Whitebait is still around and works like magic and a freelined live shrimp is many a go to bait. Cut bait like threadfins, pinfish, and ladyfish will catch all of the inshore species except for the sheepshead. If you're targeting sheephead and snapper around the docks, rockpiles, or bridges live shrimp is a safe bet. Cut shrimp has its days so always have a few dz fresh dead on board even if you don't bring live.
For the lure fisherman it's the peak time of year. They all will work, topwaters, jigs, and spoons, subsurface, all of them.
As the tide comes in and scatters the fish it's a good time to check the inshore and near shore rockpiles that are scattered throughout the bay.
Grey snapper, mangos, sheepshead, and gags are stacked up on the structure, the shipping channel, and around most of the towers. Live pinfish and whitebait are best bets, as is cut threadfins and live or frozen shrimp.
Cobia are a welcome addition to the party and tripletail will be around the markers and buoys too.
The mackerel, both king and Spanish will be around the bait schools. Look for the birds and the macks will be there. For Spanish live whitebait and shrimp are a safe bet. Small silver spoons or gotcha lures will provide steady action too.
If targeting the kingfish slow trolling a live blue runner, sardine, or ladyfish on a stinger rig is a proven technique. A spoon or diving plug trolled on a planer is also a tried and true method for the hard bait crowd. The areas around the skyway are top mackerel and kingfish grounds. Pocket change inshore fishing charters now has 2 boats to take you guys out to the fishing grounds. Call to book your trip and ask about the coastal angler special.
. Now it's time to take these tips and get out there and fish!
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Pocket change inshore fishing charters
Capt. Anthony Corcella
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