What's hot: As the water continues to cool, fishing in the rivers continues to improve. The fish that were roaming the flats and estuaries are now on a mission to find warmer water and eat up for winter.
Bait switch: While there is some whitebait around, they have thinned and are not nearly as thick as a few weeks ago. This will continue as water temps drop, but as they get harder for you to find, the same is happening for the game fish and they will begin to switch their attention to shrimp and small crustaceans. Over the last week, I've seen shrimp gradually begin to outproduce whitebait, and artificial jigs have been productive.
What else: Snook, redfish and trout are in the rivers, but the flounder and sheepshead bite has also improved. For sheepshead, focus your attention on docks, riprap and rock piles. Small shrimp freelined with a split shot about a foot up the leader has been producing well, but if you have access to fiddler crabs, they are also an excellent option and are rarely turned down.
Matt Santiago can be reached at (813) 205-2327, [email protected] and online at FishingGuideTampa.com.