By Capt. Nathan Chennaux
For the last several weeks the weather has been absolutely beautiful. The cooler conditions and dirty water have the speckled trout feeding pretty much anytime they have an opportunity. Early to mid mornings have been on fire using Skitter-Walks, DOA PT-7s and other top-water and suspending plugs. Look for areas with water depths between 2 and 5 feet with a good mix of grass and sand. The edges around the mouths of bayous and creeks have been great congregation areas for lower slot sized fish. Other productive areas are grassy points with sandy drop-offs and potholes. The bigger fish tend to hang out in slightly shallower water, mixed in or near mullet and redfish schools.
Redfishing is always great this time of the year and this year has been no different. Despite the number of water quality issure we faced this summer the redfish are happy and plentiful. I have had great success on both high and low tides, the only real difference being where I look for the fish and how they tend to act. On low tides you tend to see more fish tailing and crawling in the shallows searching out shrimp and crabs. Obviously you will need a boat that will allow you to quietly get in close enough to the fish to present to them and our Towee Calusa allows us to do just that. On higher tides its typical to find groups of fish cruising sand bars and grass flats along the shore-line and/or laying up in potholes. If the tide is falling and the water is running hard it's common to find the fish stacked up on points, marsh fingers, creek mouths, or anywhere else that water is flowing into the bay from. Jigs, spoons, plugs, DOA Shrimp, Bait-Buster and various live baits are all effective ways to get redfish to eat.
Although flounder are closed to harvest until after November they are still a lot of fun to catch in shallow water on artificial jigs and soft plastics. I have caught some really nice fish in shallow potholes and on sandbars on the outside of grass flats. The fish seem to be on the move so I would expect that the inlets woulds start to see flounder congregating and moving out toward the gulf. I like to use soft plastics on a jig head if fishing for them in water less that about 10-15 feet. After that it tends to be easier to fish them with live baits like finger mullet, pilchards, or bull minnows.
Lastly there are some monster mangrove snappers lurking around docks, bridges, seawalls, and other inshore structures. Since the water is very stained you can get some of them to come out and eat small jerkbaits and jigs. To really get them going there is nothing quite like a well full of pilchards. just toss a few sacrificial baits out and one the fish start blowing up on them you can just flip to them and BOOM. Dinner is served.
Good luck and as always if you have additional questions about what's biting, how to catch them, or you would like to book a trip I encourage you to give me a call or shoot me an email.
Capt. Nathan Chennaux