Now that water temperatures are getting cooler, fish will no longer act lethargic. You can start using lures that have a fast retrieve. Crank baits that run 4- to 8-feet deep allow you to cover more areas quickly. Places to target are the dropoffs along the edge of the flats, deep potholes and residential docks. Use a plug that dives deep enough to touch the bottom. When the plug hits the bottom, it puffs up sand and draws a reaction strike. Rods should be rigged with 8- to 12-pound line and a 20-pound leader. Some of the hot colors are black and white, black and gold, and chartreuse. The plug should run straight during the retrieve. If the plug runs to the right or left, use pliers to tune the metal loop where the ring is attached. Use a loop knot when tying to the ring on the plug. This gives the lure added action. Fish the docks that have a deep cut between the dock and a grass flat. A 20- to 30-foot cut will hold the most fish. Along the dropoff of the flats, look for areas that have bait raining on the surface. Around the potholes, work the sand closest to the grass. If you don't have a boat, fish the shorelines around the bridges. Some of the best fish are found on the bends closest to the bridge.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.