What's hot: With the passing of fronts along the gulf coast, the water has cooled a little and stimulated the inshore bite. Many snook are still holding on the beaches, though smaller packs have began to stage up on spoil islands and bayou mouths in preparation for fall. These gamefish are holding in comfort zones that allow easy feeding opportunities with access to deeper water. September is prime breeding time for redfish, and many will move inshore to feed aggressively on the incoming tides. Flats just inside major passes are key areas to start looking for these schools. Birds working a shoal or mullet milling around a mangrove edge are great indicators of where redfish will hold on higher water.
Low tide approach: With a strong low tide just after daybreak, many fish will funnel into dropoffs and sand pockets just off the thicker grassflats. Using a trolling motor or push pole, anglers need to work these shallow areas quietly; any noise is compounded and will push gamefish into deeper water. The cleaner incoming water allows feeding fish to be found more easily; a trail of mud is often left and is visible from a distance.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.