We are starting to experience the migration of juvenile minnows toward our shoreline. There's a mixture of juvenile threadfin herring, glass minnows and pilchards to be found. The annual migration attracts many game fish to the area. To survive, small minnows bunch up into tight schools for protection. The more minnows that huddle together, the greater their odds for survival. This attracts numerous game fish. Tarpon, sharks, trout, mackerel and ladyfish are just a few of the species that feed on these tiny baits. Many of the schools get pushed up along the shoreline, bundling up against the shallow water. This gives the predator fish an advantage while feeding on the bait masses. Larger fish such as tarpon and goliath gorge themselves on mouthfuls at a time. As this month progresses, bait will grow quickly, eventually dispersing by the end of the year. Offshore waters also hold bait schools as well, normally in 25 to 60 feet. These straggler schools opt to settle on rocky areas for their survival. This allows bottom fish such as gag grouper and snapper to feed on the juvenile bait migration as well.
Dave Mistretta captains Jaws Too out of Indian Rocks Beach. Call (727) 439-2628 or visit jawstoo.com.