Slightly lower humidity and lower morning temperatures mean fall is here. Tampa Bay anglers are being rewarded with productive fishing. Snapper, snook and black sea bass are feeding aggressively.
What's hot: Mangrove snapper, or gray snapper, are especially cooperative. These aggressive fighters are relatively easy to find. Check rock piles, the edges of shipping channels and submerged structures. Snook are becoming more active as the days get shorter. The ideal snook baits can be obtained on almost any area grass flat. Snapper will crush live shrimp or small sardines. They can be found around bridges, docks and places that have hard bottom or structure. This is a banner year for quality bait in Tampa Bay. A cast net is a good investment.
Tip: Snapper are especially tricky and will frustrate even the most patient angler. Don't let them bother you. Have extra bait on snapper trips. It will usually come in handy.
Timeless tip: Many fishing situations require an immediate response to capitalize on an opportunity. On a recent trip, we were fishing for trout and other species. When a blacktip shark suddenly came into our live chum slick, we grabbed a rig that had wire leader and was ready for mackerel. Rigs with mono would have not stood a chance against such a toothy critter. With a proper presentation, the shark became a lifelong memory for an ambitious 6-year-old.
Dave Walker charters out of Tampa and can be reached at snookfish.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 310-6531.