Fall Fishing is in full effect. Big schools of redfish have made their presence known all over the Tampa Bay area. Approaching these schools can be tough, go slow and keep your distance. When throwing to schools of redfish I like to throw bigger baitfish flies. I think it creates some competition when a bigger meal is presented. Along with schools, we are starting to see some lower tides and cooler water temps. This is an exciting time of year where you can find tailing fish more regularly with lower water conditions. Until the first cold fronts, baitfish will still be the primary meals for most of the species we can encounter on the flats. This doesn’t mean a well-presented shrimp or crab fly will not fool a tailing redfish. Once the weather starts cooling down, baitfish will move off to deeper water and crustaceans will become primary forage food source. This also doesn’t mean a well-presented baitfish won’t get eaten.
Since the weather and water temps are still on the warmer side, snook have been very active and will continue to feed heavily preparing for cooler times. Baitfish flies are my go-to when casting to snook. Once again, I like a bigger than normal presentation. If you are seeing 3-inch pilchard around, throw a 4-6” baitfish fly. Keep your eyes in the shallow shorelines for sight fishing opportunities for snook. I find they feed a bit shallower than redfish.
We have also been seeing pushes of sea trout moving out of their deeper holes up onto shallower flats. This allows for some exciting sight fishing action. You can expect to see them on edges of flats, potholes and patchy grass beds. They are ambush predators, meaning they don’t move a whole lot when in a feeding mode. Bigger trout tend to be alone or in small groups unlike small to medium size trout. This can make it tough to see them at times, but move slow and scan thoroughly. I like bigger baitfish flies for trout as well.