What's hot: Slightly cooler water and shorter days are inspiring increased feeding activity among North Suncoast fish. Migrating baitfish are improving the food supply for most inshore and coastal species. Falling temperatures also stimulate the gamefish out of their late summer lethargy. All of these factors add up to a great outlook for anglers over the next month or two.
Find the bait: A cast net is important at this time to catch your own bait. Live scaled sardines will outfish other baits in the fall and there are few places they can be purchased. As the migratory minnows show up, watch for them along the beaches. Mackerel, jacks, and bonito often chase the sardines into the shallow surf. The bait can also be gathered by chumming the grass flats on the inside of inlets and channels that connect inshore waters.
Find the fish: Once you have a batch of sardines, start by using them nearby. By moving out a half mile from the beach in the morning, you can usually capitalize on what the baitfish are hiding from. Slow trolling or drifting live bait will work when the mackerel and other coastal pelagic species are there. By 10 a.m. the gulf action slows and it becomes time to shift to flats fishing.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at lighttacklecharters.com or at (727) 944-3474.