Fall flats fishing: Fall is one of my favorite times to fish. Several types of game fish can be caught, including Spanish mackerel, kingfish, snook and gator trout.
Kingfish and Spanish mackerel: Most local artificial reefs hold kings and Spanish mackerel this time of year. A few popular ones include Pasco 1 and 2, Clearwater reef and Tarpon reef. These fish can be found about anywhere there is hard bottom such as rocks or wrecks. There are several ways to catch them, ranging from trolling to anchoring and chumming. Mackerel have sharp teeth, so use a small piece of wire leader. If fish are around but you aren't catching any, try switching to 60- or 80-pound mono-leader with a long shank hook. This setup might increase the bites.
River snook fishing: As the flats cool with every cold front, snook will move to their winter homes. Along the west coast, this means local rivers, including the Cotee and Anclote. Slow trolling is good with a trolling motor, but you can use a gas motor. Use live or artificial baits, including live finger mullet and shiners. My favorite is hard-plastic crank baits that rattle.
Mike Manning runs Action Fishing Adventures out of Tarpon Springs. Call him toll-free at 1-800-644-5940.