Water temperature drops and ignites fall flats fishing


Shorter days, longer nights, precipitation and northerly quadrant winds have dropped the water temperature into the low 80s. The biological alarm clock has sounded for our flats species to retreat and feed in effort to store body fat for winter.


Redfish remain the hot ticket


Snook and trout activity is increasing, but we are still a few weeks off for optimum catches with these species. Redfish are schooling and serving as “bread and butter” for fishing guides throughout the northern Suncoast. Rocky outcroppings, the first oyster bars and points guarding river and creek mouths, flats adjacent to barrier islands and passes, and neap current producing cul-de-sacs are all holding fish at this time.


Migrating mullet schools make finding redfish easy work


There are several theories as to why fall redfish relate to schooling mullet. Likely the best one is because they are there. While not every school of mullet will hold reds, every school of mullet is worth a look when found in conjunction with the prime habitats previously mentioned. Pay particular attention to schools that are found in the same spots and on the same tide phases for days or sometimes weeks at a time. Redfish are very quick to establish habits and that makes them easy to pattern.


Best tides start this weekend and will continue through the week


Mid flood tides at lower light in the next week will be prime time for redfishing. While every spot produces differently on particular phases of a flood or ebb tide, without question, fall redfish on the flats are easiest to catch on the last third of the incoming and the first third of the outgoing tides. Live bait is readily available, but you can gain a preemptive edge by fishing artificial lures at daybreak while other anglers are still catching bait. Small gold spoons cover a lot of area quickly while hunting for the fish. Once located, there is no better opportunity to enjoy explosive top water lures and big fish in shallow water.


Capt. Robert McCue can be reached @ (800) 833-0489 or through his website www.GiantTarpon.com