Expect the best: Water temperatures are starting to fall into the 70s, the temps that create endless options for fishing. Fall migrations of mackerel, tarpon, sharks, grouper and many more species coincide, creating great action. Already we have witnessed fish on the move.
Feeding frenzy: Tarpon have been gobbling up small minnows along our beaches. Expect this action to last well into October. Spanish mackerel have also been ravaging these schools of minnows. Their speedy attacks create an impressive feeding frenzy at the water's surface. As the schools of mack attack, the small baitfish get knocked out of the water. This action excites other predators (jacks, bonito and ladyfish), which join in. Even seabirds try to steal bait from the hungry fish. Once this action is under way, sharks are lured. We've been catching impressive blacktip sharks. They will follow the surface action closely, waiting for an opportunity to catch a mack or ladyfish. Blacktips are very aggressive, often leaping high out of the water to try to throw a hook.
Bottom fishing: Red grouper remain strong in depths of 70-plus feet. Numerous spots are holding good numbers of keeper reds. The gags have just started to trickle closer to shore. We caught a few keepers in 59 feet the other day. This was a sign of what's ahead; a few weeks ago, no keepers were available at that depth. Expect to see 35-foot spots start to produce in a few weeks.
Dave Mistretta captains the Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 595-3276, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to jawstoo.com.