Captain's Corner: Baitfish cover beaches as fall fishing kicks into high gear


Fall fishing is in full swing. The beaches are covered in baitfish. Threadfin herring and scaled sardines can be found up and down the Suncoast. Migratory species are preying on these bait schools. Spanish mackerel, kingfish, cobia, bonita, sharks and offshore redfish are the prominent species on the prowl. Inshore, redfish schools continue to invade shallow-water flats in search of crustaceans. Sea trout, one of the most popular and easiest of all to catch, are starting to show up everywhere on the grass flats with the cooling water temperature. Learning how to throw a cast net can be one of the best things anyone can learn in our area. We're fortunate to have one of the healthiest variety of baitfish anywhere. Filling the live well with threadfins, scaled sardines, pinfish, grunts, mullet, ladyfish and shrimp will provide action for any targeted species. The main goal: have proper bait for anything that arises. Slow trolling threadfin herring off the beaches will entice catches of all the pelagic species. Start by locating schools of baitfish less than a mile from the beach and deploy baits on a light-drag setting using light wire to prevent break-offs from toothy fish. Large offshore redfish have been a surprise catch while trolling off the beach.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit