What's not hot: The first major cold front of the season has come through, bringing relief from the heat and nice, fresh air. Typically, about a week before Halloween, we get a cool snap. That changes conditions and strategies.
What's hot: Redfish have been swarming over oyster bars and mangrove shorelines in Tampa Bay. Large aggregations of fish are roving the flats picking up dinner wherever possible.
Tip: Try throwing a piece of cut bait into the thickest mullet school you can find. The results might surprise you. On a recent outing, we crushed the redfish on torn pieces of greenbacks. The dead bait outfished the live stuff 10-1. When we cleaned our reds at the end of the day, their stomachs were full of our chum pieces. We caught only a few nonintended species. The occasional catfish is worth it when you are blistering the reds.
Unusual sight: I was camping with my daughter last weekend at Lithia Springs, and we spotted a snook in the smaller of the two springs. It had to be a yard long and, obviously, had traveled a long way from Tampa Bay. Typically, snook head into the backwaters in late fall. Baitfish and game fish are starting their seasonal migrations as noted by the snook seeking relief from the cold before it even gets here.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa. Call (813) 310-6531 or visit fishontampabay.com/captains.aspx.