Changing times: The water temperature has been creeping down the past few weeks. This will bring the gag grouper migration to shallower depths. Already, anglers have been rewarded with good catches in depths shallower than 50 feet. Expect this action to get better as the mild cool fronts pass. Once the water temperature dips below 80 degrees, the action will really bust loose.
Big mackerel: Kingfish have been caught in many of the fall spots already. They are a bit ahead of the normal migration, but as the water temperature drops, more will come. Schools of small baitfish are one reason for these migrations. These large masses of minnows attract lots of blue runners and Spanish mackerel. All this commotion attracts other predators, such as kingfish. This action will also pick up as the water temperature drops below 80. It's only a matter of a few days now.
The food chain: That's pretty much how the fall migrations of many fish species go around here. Schools of juvenile bait swim toward shore and get eaten by bigger fish such as kingfish, grouper and cobia. Even larger fish, such as sharks, are close behind trying to eat. By late October there's a lot of action within 3 miles of the beach, since many baitfish work their way closer to shore. There is nowhere else for the baitfish to escape to except up along the beaches. So there will be plenty of big fish action for landlubbers when that happens.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or see www.jawstoo.com.