The recent warming trend has sent fish scurrying back to their late summer haunts. The once congregated snook pods have spread out; instead of there being 40 to 50 in one spot, there are now 15 to 20 in multiple spots. Live sardines freelined around deep mangrove edges is a good bet. The water has cleared up so the fish are easily spooked. To combat the clear water I have my anglers for the day stand around the cockpit of the boat instead of on the forward casting deck. This keeps the wary fish from seeing you or your shadow and can set them at ease to begin to feed. King and Spanish mackerel are thick In the bay. Live sardines drifted into the strike zone on a long shank hook are scoring big. Diving birds will show where fish are feeding. Inshore tackle used for snooks and redfish will work here but bring a 6000 series reel and a heavy action rod; tarpon are hanging out in the same areas as the Spanish and kings. A couple of decent fronts should send the fish back to their staging areas and the feed bag should be back on this week.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.