What's hot: With a moderate water temperature drop, the rich grassflats just inside major passes have an abundance of fish to pull some drag on those reels. Larger speckled trout, bonita and Spanish mackerel are ripping through large pods of bait on the incoming tide. In these high current areas, grass grouper, flounder and puppy drums are roaming the sandy edges and attacking a freelined bait. Some grouper have been up to 20 inches. For the avid fisherman who likes to experience sightcasting, October is a great month. The water clears and inshore gamefish will hold in the sand pockets to feed. Artificials such as a brown bucktail or weedless grass-colored jerkbait work great as the lure can be slowly worked through the strike zone to entice fish. Redfish that hold in these dropoffs and edges are using the tide to feed and will key in on the scent of a shrimp.
Pro's tips: The late afternoon sea breeze can aid in casting. By keeping a good distance, weary game fish are more likely to fall victim to a hooked bait. Downsizing to 20-pound leader has helped disguise the angler's presentation.
Jim Huddleston charters out of Tampa, Palm Harbor and Clearwater and can be reached at (727) 439-9017 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.