Nearshore action is reaching a feverish pitch. Easterly winds and clean water have the bait pushed in tight to the beach, and the Spanish mackerel, bonita, jack crevalle and ladyfish are having a field day. Larger fish such as kingfish, tarpon, bull redfish and a variety of sharks are taking notice. Having a variety of bait can make a big difference; fresh cut bait on the bottom will draw attention from sharks, redfish and tarpon. Meanwhile, ballooning a shad, legal mackerel, ladyfish or blue runner could entice an early season kingfish bite. Mix in a free-lined pinfish and you should keep busy. Keeping out a fresh, tournament-grade chum block will send out a long slick, attracting fish from a great distance. New moon tides this past week provided some good redfishing. This is the time of year when we start to encounter schools of redfish with regularity. These redfish are likely moving in from the gulf and staging up on grass flats near the passes. Look for the usual signs, such as clean water and the presence of mullet, but also keep an eye on any suspicious mud clouds along the outer edge of the flat, indicating the presence of a school of fish. Fall redfish will often stage on the outside edge of the flat and never move up with the tide. This is probably due to all the fry bait in deeper water.
Tyson Wallerstein runs Inshore Fishing Charters in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area and can be reached at (727) 692-5868 and via email at flatsmonster.com.