What's hot: Near-shore action is reaching a feverish pitch. An easterly wind and clean water have the bait pushed in tight to the beach, and Spanish mackerel, bonita, jack crevalle and ladyfish are having a field day. Larger fish such as kingfish, tarpon, bull redfish and a variety of sharks also are taking notice.
Tactics: Having a variety of bait makes a difference. Fresh-cut bait on the bottom tempts sharks, redfish and tarpon. Ballooning a shad, legal mackerel, ladyfish or blue runner could entice an early season kingfish bite. Mix in a free-lined pinfish and you should stay busy. In addition, keeping out a fresh, tournament-grade chum block sends out a long slick, attracting fish from far distances.
What else: Full-moon tides this week should produce redfish, and you should start seeing them regularly afterward. They are likely arriving from the gulf and staging up on grass flats near passes. Look for clean water, mullet and suspicious mud clouds along the outer edge of the flat. Fall redfish often stage on the edge of the flat and don't move up with the tide. This is probably due to fry bait in deeper water.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email [email protected]