Inshore: The peak of the mullet spawning period is here, so massive numbers of these egg- and milt-laden fish are moving on the flats. These schools will settle into an area to await the next cold front, which triggers an urge to swim to the open gulf for spawning. In the bays and estuaries, the reds and snook will mix in among the mullet for both protection and feeding.
When the mullet nibble sand and mud to eat the algae that grows on it, they often expose or spook shrimp, small fish, and crabs, which the reds love. Similarly, when dense mullet schools swim in a large circle the whirlpool effect creates "muds," which present feeding opportunities for game fish.
Casting artificial baits such as spoons or soft-plastic jerk baits into the mullet often produces great redfish action. Sometimes you may inadvertently snag a big mullet.
Offshore: Great catches of gag grouper have been coming in shallow water. With amberjack and red snapper closed to harvest, there has been little reason to go more than 10 miles offshore. We've been catching our limit of gags in less than 20 feet of water in one or two stops. We even caught keeper gags in 8 feet of water near Tarpon Springs.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 944-3474 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.