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Captain's Corner

Captains corner: Game fish changing habits as water cools

What's hot: With water temperatures cooling a little, fall fishing patterns are starting to emerge. Inshore game fish will start holding on spoil islands and deeper mangrove shorelines. Redfish are schooled up and hit most any bait or lure thrown under a mangrove bush. Spanish mackerel and speckled trout are moving closer to shore.

Live bait as aid: A livewell full of bait is great for finding hidden fish along any given shoreline. Most bait being caught is a little on the small side, so using these as search tools works great. Any mangrove point or oyster bar that has moving water is a good spot to anchor and throw out a few smaller baits to locate fish.

Redfish: There has been an increase of larger redfish from Clearwater north to the Hudson area. On incoming tides, the schools push up on to a shallow flat and feed aggressively on crabs and small pinfish. A tail-hooked shrimp allows anglers to cast ahead of a school without scaring them. Once the tide peaks, cast to any depression or pothole in a shady area along a mangrove shoreline.

Trout and mackerel: Deeper grass flats just inside most passes in north Pinellas are starting to hold good numbers of speckled trout and Spanish mackerel. As long as the tide is moving swiftly, the bite has been on. Small sardines and select-sized shrimp under a cork work in the first few hours of daylight. The mackerel have been crashing schools of small glass minnows. A small silver spoon tossed into the area will draw a strike.

Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 or at jim@

Captains corner: Game fish changing habits as water cools 09/22/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 22, 2011 6:44pm]
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